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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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My dog needs a rear leg amputation but has osteoarthritis in his other hind leg. What should I do?
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Forum Posts: 3
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9 June 2019
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9 June 2019 - 6:23 am
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My 9 year old German Shepherd Cross has a large tumor on his right hind leg. It cannot be removed. Amputation has been recommended. However, his left hind leg has osteoarthritis in the knee and hip and he had cruciate ligament surgery (has a metal plate to hold his knee in place) 6 years ago. I am so concerned that his remaining leg would not be able to support him (he weighs around 85lbs/39kgs) and that it would be totally unfair to put him through the operation. Would it be kinder to leave him be and enjoy a decent quality of life (he is happy and not in pain a present) for a few months or go for the amputation that may not be successful? If anyone has faced a similar predicament your advice/experience would be gratefully received. I just don’t know what to do.

Here and Now


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9 June 2019 - 8:40 am
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Welcome and best wishes with the difficult decisions you face. Search these forums and the Tripawds Blogs and you will find many articles and videos regarding osteoarthritis in Tripawds, and the many ways you can help arthritic Tripawds live happy healthy lives on three legs. (Triopawds News Blog : search results for “osteoarthritis“. Use the Advanced Search above for more forum topics. You can also search all blogs here .)

Successful care and recovery depend upon the lengths you are willing to go to help with rehab, an ongoing exercise regimen, massage, stretching, supplements and weight management. Of course, every dog is different. If you have not already done so, seek opinions from a board certified orthopedic surgeon, oncologist, and canine rehab therapist (CCRT or CCRP ).

Others will surely chime in soon with additional feedback. In the meantime, start here for help finding the many other Tripawds resources. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Virginia




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9 June 2019 - 6:34 pm
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Geez, so sorry you find yourself in this rough spot.   It’s  very clear how much you love your pup and   focused  on  your pup’s QUALITY.

Your situation  is doable.   As the Admin Guy said though, please get him evaluated  by a Certified Orthopedic  Surgeon and a Certified  Rehabilitation  Specialist.   If they think he is a good candidate,  that will certainly  help in your decision  making process.

While the scenario I have with my VERY ACTIVE front legger tripawd,  is not exactly  the same as with your pup, it may help.

I adopted Frankie as a tripawd, so don’t  know the cause.  He’s avout 70 lbs and, best guess, around six ish.   December 2018 he had cruciate  surgery repair on one of his remaining back legs.  He basically was a tripawd for the first coiple of weeks of recovery  as the other leg healed.  The sessions with the Rehab Specialist  and the techniques she used were invaluable  I’m his healing.  And healing he did!  Recovery was not easy though,, especially  if you are a one human household. 

Fast forward December  2019.  Yep, the other rear leg, same issue!  This  time I did the TPLO surgery (as opposed to the “fishing wire” one).  Back to trying to hop on two.  This surgery  was much “easier” and the recovery  time was quicker.  I did have some incredible help with my regular Vet as far as keeping  him several days until he was able to walk with very little, or no help.

I know this is such a different scenario and, as I typo,  I’m  not even sure why I shared it!  I do know that the TPLO surgery seems to be holding well (KNOCKING ON WOOD) and he is also very arthritic.  I give him joint supplements  and Rimadyl sometimes.  His “other” rear leg (the cruc6 fishing line one) is very arthritic and he has some hip dysplasia  as well.  KNOCKK G KN WOOD sone mpre, he is doing very well gets arpund  well, runs up and down the fence after whatever.  He does “self regulate” and saves his energy by laying down a lot, eating  laying down, etc.

Oh gosh, another dog jist came to mind!  A Lab named Murphy! IF I recall, he had hip replacement  surgery on his REMAINING rear leg  just six months  AFTER amp!!  It took a huge amount  of care and consistent  rehabilitation, but Murphy recovered  and became a very happy and healthy  dog after all the healing  took place!

STAY CONNECTED  and please know, we are here for you and COMPLETELY  SUPPORT YOU with any path you take.  You will make a decision out of love and that is always the right decision ❤❤❤

((((((((((((((((((((((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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10 June 2019 - 2:22 am
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Thank you so much for your help. It is comforting to know that it is possible for a dog to thrive with a ‘poorly’ other leg. We are still undecided but will have to let the hospital know this week. It is just so hard. The problem is that Jack is his normal happy self and is in no pain which makes the decision harder. If we leave it until the tumor is affecting his quality of life the amputation would be easier to deal with but, of course, it might have spread elsewhere by then and we would never forgive ourselves. I will let you know what decide. Thank you once again. The trouble is we love our Jack just so so much.   

Here and Now


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13 June 2019 - 10:21 am
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Such a hard decision and no one can really make it but you and your fur family. I wanted to throw in our experience (albeit slightly different) with Shu. She is missing her front left leg and soon after we adopted her I realized she had pain in her rear left. I doggedly sought answers and eventually discovered she had a previous fracture in her rear left. The pain there is often nagging and leaves her with two right limbs bearing much of the strain. She has to take it easier than most, even though she is young, and that is a challenge but various pain treatments and PT have helped to make difference and help her enjoy a good enough quality of life and love. Hope this offers some help and/or hope. 

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16 June 2019 - 10:02 am
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Thank you for your post. We are going to get Jack some physio to try to build up muscle in his leg and try to get his weight down as we feel at the moment he would struggle to manage on 3 legs. We know that the longer we leave it the higher the risk of the cancer spreading (which I would never forgive myself) but we need to give him the best chance of coping on 3 legs. Thanks again x

Virginia




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16 June 2019 - 5:41 pm
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Alright, you have a plan to get Mr Jack in top top shape and now you can move forward!

We’ll be cheering for Jack,  so stay connected  and let us know how he’s  doing.  Guess ice cream and cake are off the table for now, huh?  And yes, I mean for Jack, not you!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 June 2019 - 5:47 pm
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That is a great plan! Weight loss makes a huge difference to a Tripawd, you will see it in no time at all. If you’d like help finding a physio let us know. And please keep us posted OK? Meanwhile you may want to check out all of the Tripawds Nutrition blog weight loss tips.

https://nutriti…..eight-loss

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 August 2019 - 10:16 am
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My lab was an overweight tripawd at 90 lbs. I put him on the diet “Feed the dog, Starve the Cancer”. I also stopped with the grocery store treats. When I find meat on sale I will buy it and dehydrate it.   I am happy to say Brownie lost 15 lbs within 2 months.  He is now 75 lbs with 5 more to loose.  I found out on this site that 5 lbs on a dog is like 25 lbs on a human. I was shocked!

Brownie is much happier and gets around so much better since his weight lost. I’m not an expert, but as I learned on this site, Jack loosing weight may ease up the stress in his bad leg. I was worried about Brownie because I learned dogs support 60% of their weight on their front legs, per my vet.

Wishing you and your family and of course Jack the best in whatever decision you make on his behalf.

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 August 2019 - 1:34 pm
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brownie1201 said
I am happy to say Brownie lost 15 lbs within 2 months.  He is now 75 lbs with 5 more to loose.

  

Brownie is a Tripawd weight loss success story! YEAH!!!!smiley_clapsmiley10

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