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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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New here and considering amputation
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AZ
Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
3 September 2020
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3 September 2020 - 10:56 pm
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Hi, I just found this site today. I have a 10 year old German Shorthaired Pointer named Milli.  About 8 weeks ago she was diagnosed with Valley Fever (we live in AZ) but she may also have Osteosarcoma. She has been to 2 vets and both are unsure. The biopsy is very expensive and we have not had it done.  The mass on her left rear leg hock was 6 3/4 inches in diameter 6 weeks ago. Today it is 11 1/2 inches in diameter. Her foot is swelling and it is hot to the touch.  I am afraid it will break open soon.  She still likes to eat and hunt lizards, but she lacks the stamina she used to have.    Lungs are clear. We are considering amputation and are torn as to what to do. I see several people on this site have senior dogs that are doing well.   She currently does not use the bad leg.  My husband worries that it is a lot to put a 10 yr old dog thru such a surgery.   I, on the other hamd don’t think she is ready to give up her fight.    Thoughts anyone?  Thank you 

Jane

Milli’s family: dogs -Satchel/Akita; Dingo/ Husky, Beagle mix; Ike/chihuahua; Jazzy/temporary foster

Cats: Willy, Stewie, Grannie, Emmi, Molly

Mom & Dad;  Jane & Joe

2 legged kids:  Tony & Jack

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 28041
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3 September 2020 - 11:42 pm
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Hi Milli and family, welcome! I’m so sorry you are dealing with this tough situation. It’s not easy to decide on amputation, and that’s why we are here for whatever path you choose to take.

She still likes to eat and hunt lizards

This made me smile! Only in the Southwest icon_lol

When the diagnosis is so uncertain it makes deciding even tougher. My question to you is, have you asked if the leg is beyond repair? If so, then amputation is really a no-brainer unless you are ready to pursue palliative care to alleviate the pain. The downside of that is it usually won’t be more than a couple weeks until the humane thing to do is set her free. 

At ten years old, she’s not a spring chicken but also not the oldest Tripawd we’ve ever had as a member. What do your vets say about her ability to live as a Tripawd?

Many senior dogs do really, really well on three legs. Has your husband seen our videos and photos? Or read through our Size and Age MattersForum Discussions? Invite him to post too, we are happy to share our experiences and answer any questions you two have. 

I need to run now, but stay tuned for feedback from others OK? And be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List for answers to many of your questions while you wait.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 19
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3 September 2020
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4 September 2020 - 4:08 am
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Hi, I’m new here too and just had my 10 year old’s leg amputated yesterday. Making the decision was hard at first until I was told his leg was going to break soon. It was either put him down now or amputate and he is so full of life and still wanting to go on adventures so we chose to give him more time, embrace every moment and see where this 3 legged journey takes us. It must be more difficult not knowing his diagnosis. Keep researching amputation with your partner. I initially thought it was incredibly barbaric and didn’t want to do that to him but now see it as freeing him from pain and having an opportunity to enjoy life a little longer. I think your dog will let you know what it is best and will love you through whatever decision you make. 



Forum Posts: 1494
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4 September 2020 - 10:06 am
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Hi Milli and family,

Amputation can be a hard decision particularly when you don’t have an absolute diagnosis. I didn’t know for sure that my cat had cancer but had her front leg and clavicle removed because the tumour was so aggressive and growing before my eyes. It turns out the vet was correct with his assumption.

There was another German Short-haired Pointer here before named Annie who was 11.5 years old when they amputated. Here is their post when deciding to amputate: https://tripawd…..t-the-end/

Here is her topic after the amputation:  https://tripawd…..-recovery/

I with give you a quick summary that Annie seemed to recover well from the surgery, however, the surgeon had left a stump (rather than removing the clavicle). A couple of months later there were problems with the stump/clavicle area and after getting a second opinion from a AAHA-accredited vet it was another osteosarcoma tumour. Cancer spread is always a concern so most vets remove the full leg and the clavicle plus some lymph nodes to test for cancer. Since Milli’s rear leg is affected you might want to discuss the surgical approach with an experienced, qualified surgeon.

I have a wonderful German Short-haired Pointer who lives next door to me. He is a delightful, fun, and friendly dog and lives with his humans, chickens, ducks and a cat. and even has a very wiggly butt when he says hello.

All the best in making your decision.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19692
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22 February 2013
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4 September 2020 - 10:59 am
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Can only ditto what everyone  else has posted.  We all understand the kick in the gut when hearing  the diagnosis.  We also understand  the relief when a path forwatd is decided.

As mentioned,  age is just a number. We have seen MANY dogs older than ten proceed with getting that painful leg removed.  Sure, recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks, but once the recovery is complete dogs thrive on three!  

If your pup is hardly using that leg, it really hurts!  Dogs are so stoic  and try to hide pain, so clearly  it hurts.

At first, it seems like you are dojng this TO your wonderful  pup.  Within a very short time you will be soooo grateful  you did this FOR your pup!!

STAY CONNECTED  and let us know how we can help, okay.  A y decision  made out of love is the right decision.  And we support whatever path you take.

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!

Forum Posts: 5
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14 November 2019
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4 September 2020 - 11:20 am
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Hi oh I am so sorry.. My dear Rylie as 8 yrs old she was very active and we did do the amputation and was very glad we did BUT what I wish we had done was maybe have her spine x-rayed since she ended up rupturing some discs in her back , which I feel like she was just too active to be a tripawd.. This was 5 months after her amputation 

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19692
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22 February 2013
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4 September 2020 - 11:31 am
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Thank you so much for chiming in on Rylie’s story.  I think hearing  from another hooman who was owned by a German Short Haired Pointer helps a lot!  

And just so you know….Rylie has sent (or is in the process) another ADORABLE pup for them to love and spoil.  .

It was sooooo great seeing this video!  Lots of good memories! 

.Thank you again  for sharing  your jnsight ❤❤❤

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!

AZ
Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
3 September 2020
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8
9 September 2020 - 10:58 pm
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Thank you all for your responses.   I have read Jerry’s list, talked to my husband and our vet and then talked to vet again, asked the 10 questions, watched tripawd videos and ordered a new bed (used a link on your website) for Milli.   My husband and I have made a joint decision to proceed with amputation as long as her lungs are clear of cancer when they take xrays prior to surgery tomorrow.   I am nervous but I feel good about our decision.   I’m a little concerned her new bed won’t arrive until Saturday and she will come home on Friday.  Also nervous about those first few days home. 

Jane

Milli’s family: dogs -Satchel/Akita; Dingo/ Husky, Beagle mix; Ike/chihuahua; Jazzy/temporary foster

Cats: Willy, Stewie, Grannie, Emmi, Molly

Mom & Dad;  Jane & Joe

2 legged kids:  Tony & Jack

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19692
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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9
10 September 2020 - 9:22 am
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You are making a decision  out of love and that is always the”right” decision. You’ve done your research, talked to the professionals and Milli appears to be a good candidate  for handling life on three.

We know this is a scary time.  We understand  like no others can.  We  are here by your side the whole way.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Now go hig Milli and know that all os well in Milli’s world👌

Hugs 

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

PS.  No worries about the bed not being  there eight away.  Some dogs just sort of sleep through the first  ight or two.  And some are more restless and some are more mobile than others at first.  Just depends  on the individual  dog and their reaction to pain meds, etc.   Yi can be near Milli with a towel sling in case she needs help getting up.

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



Forum Posts: 28041
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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10
10 September 2020 - 10:31 pm
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Being informed and prepared for the coming recovery is the best thing you can do to make it easier, you’re doing great!!

Thanks for shopping through the community! Don’t worry too much about the bed right now, it’ll be extra pawesome when it does arrive.

I’m sending you lots of pawsitivity for an uneventful surgery and smooth recovery. Keep up posted!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

AZ
Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
3 September 2020
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11
11 September 2020 - 7:50 am
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I would say you have no idea what comfort and strength bring to me, but I know you do.  I just happened across this website and am honored to be a new member.   Our vet was not familiar with your site and was quite interested.   They are AAHA accredited and she was very happy that tripawds recommends this accreditation.  I’m sure she will refer other people in our position.  Cool!   Well, I pick Milli up at 4:00 this afternoon.  Wish me luck and good thoughts to make it through the next few days without too much worry.   This dog is my baby.  I have 4 others, they are my babies as well. :).   
Thank you again!

Jane

Milli’s family: dogs -Satchel/Akita; Dingo/ Husky, Beagle mix; Ike/chihuahua; Jazzy/temporary foster

Cats: Willy, Stewie, Grannie, Emmi, Molly

Mom & Dad;  Jane & Joe

2 legged kids:  Tony & Jack

AZ
Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
3 September 2020
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12
11 September 2020 - 7:53 am
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Thank you so much!   We are going to order a harness for her when she heals.   I will order it through the link on the website too.   
How do I upright Milli’s picture? 

Jane

Milli’s family: dogs -Satchel/Akita; Dingo/ Husky, Beagle mix; Ike/chihuahua; Jazzy/temporary foster

Cats: Willy, Stewie, Grannie, Emmi, Molly

Mom & Dad;  Jane & Joe

2 legged kids:  Tony & Jack

AZ
Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
3 September 2020
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13
11 September 2020 - 8:01 am
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Thank you for sharing.   Beautiful girl!  Love this breed.   Milli is our 2nd GSP.     Watching Rylie run made my husband see amputation in a different light.  Honestly, SHE changed his mind.  So very sorry to hear about the discs in her back.  This breed is sooo busy.  We will keep an eye on her activity and back the best we can.

Thank you again for sharing such inspiration 

Jane

Milli’s family: dogs -Satchel/Akita; Dingo/ Husky, Beagle mix; Ike/chihuahua; Jazzy/temporary foster

Cats: Willy, Stewie, Grannie, Emmi, Molly

Mom & Dad;  Jane & Joe

2 legged kids:  Tony & Jack

Virginia




Forum Posts: 19692
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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14
11 September 2020 - 9:39 am
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 I’m so glad that Riley’s story gave you reassurance and inspiration! I will definitely make sure Rylie’s humans know that!

When we say out Tripawds continue  to inspire even as Angels, we mean it.♥️

When you do go pick your sweet pup up, don’t even bother to look at her

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: 5
Member Since:
14 November 2019
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15
11 September 2020 - 9:49 am
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Hey we have 2 ruffwear harnessess.. that I got for Rylie, I would love to mail you one for Milli . I believe its either med or large she was 55lbs and it really helped for getting up stairs things like that.

please PM your address and I will mail out for you! Best of luck the first 2 weeks are the hardest, you’ll get through it

Kristensp_hearticon2

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