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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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Recommended Front Limb Amputation - What should I do before surgery?
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Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
28 September 2019
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28 September 2019 - 12:29 pm
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My 12 lb chi-mix has received two recommendations to have her left front limb amputated to stop a soft tissue sarcoma from spreading.  For those of you who have been through this are there things you wish you did before the surgery to be better prepared?  I’m still a bit in shock and keep thinking of the little things she won’t be able to do anymore that are part of her personality like play with her food, wave her front paw, etc.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thank you!

Here and Now

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28 September 2019 - 12:38 pm
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anniemariah said
Any advice would be appreciated…

Welcome and best wishes for your pup! Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Search these forums or search all blogs here and you will find plenty of helpful preparation, recovery and care tips. Start here for help finding the many Tripawds resources, and don’t miss these articles regarding your specific question:

Ten Tips for a Tripawd Friendly Home

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Amputation Surgery for Dogs and Cats (Part 1)

All posts tagged “what to expect”

The Tripawds Recovery Shopping List

Hope this helps! To save time spent searching for answers – and identifying the questions you need to ask – consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns.

Forum Posts: 510
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4 April 2019
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28 September 2019 - 1:09 pm
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Hi, my Brownie had front leg amputation. I had the same fear you are having. But boy was I wrong. Brownie does everything he did on four, just found different ways to do it. He use to stand and nudge me with his frontn paw when it was cookie time. Now he stands  and nudge me with his nose.  As far as preparing I followed the instructions of my vet, and I removed any unnecessary items in the house that may get in his way. I also prepares him a comfety place to rest away from My other two dogs. Nice and quiet. The day before surgery he enjoyed a play date with his best friend at the park

I’m sure your fur baby will do everything she does now. You will see videos on this site of dogs swimming, running and enjoying life without that painful leg.

Forum Posts: 510
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28 September 2019 - 1:14 pm
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I did stock up on food and pet supplies so I wouldn’t need to leave the house for a week.  You might want to ask your vet if there are any supplies you may need to have available. Also, ask about pain management . I’m not an expert on that, but others on this site are, and I am sure they will.chime in.


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28 September 2019 - 9:23 pm
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Nancy (Brownie) have you some good suggestions and the Admin Guy gave you informative  links.

Yes, we can assure you that your precious Chi will figure out all sorts of new ways to do all the things she loves.  I’ve  included a video of my front leg tripawd happily  gnawing on his bone no problemo.  As far as saving her front paw, she may decide  to learn to sit up on her hind legs and wave that paw.  She may do just like Brownie and use her nose to nudge you.  Or she may use her voice.  She’ll figure out all sorts of ways to do the cute things she always does.

We would love to have a video of her paw wave now.  Then, when she develops  her new technique we can have that video too!

I can’t  find  my  video, but I have one of him digging with that one  front leg like a champ.

We all understand the fear and the uncertainty when first faced with the word amputation.   Uoj eill truly ve amazed how well she adapts.  That’s  not to say that recovery  is a piece of cake because  it’s  not.  Its major surgery and the first two weeks-ish can be rough.  We’re  here to help uou navigate  through the recovery, provide input on pain meds, etc.    

Shhh….dont tell the big dogs, but little dogs generally recover faster.😉

Let us know how we can help you, any questions you have, etc.  Oh, and what’s  your pupper’s name?


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie!

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!

Livermore, CA

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28 September 2019 - 9:35 pm
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Hello and welcome to you and your girl- what’s her name?

I spent a lot of time mourning and missing the things that my Pug Maggie wouldn’t be able to do after her rear amp for mast cell cancer.  I was sure that she would never be herself again.

But while I was busy missing things Maggie was busy figuring out how to do all the things she wanted to do.  She didn’t miss anything…it was all me!

Admin guy gave you lots of good links which will hopefully give you more confidence as you start down this path.  Do you have a surgery date?

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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

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29 September 2019 - 1:09 am
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Thank you all for your helpful advice and support!  My girl’s name is Bella Lou, or Bella Rina (she likes to stand on her toes when she wants attention), Bella Llama (she’s pretty zen for a Chi), or just plain Roo or Momma.  We don’t have a surgery date as of yet but it will be in the next few weeks.  I’m in the process of deciding wether or not to go with her regular vet or a surgeon. I’m going to do some research based on the info the Admin provided in regards to accreditation and training.  Just feeling like I’m not alone is very helpful.  The whole thing didn’t seem real until we were in the oncologist’s office.  I fought back the tears as I know I need to be strong for her.  I will upload a pic of her in my profile.

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29 September 2019 - 5:30 am
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SHE IS SOOOOO CUTE! How old is she? Sally was spot on about how she may use her voice. Brownie has always used his voice and being a tripawd did not change that at all!

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29 September 2019 - 11:43 am
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Within minutes I taught Mona, my front leg amputee, to sit up like a meerkat. I did it to help her develop her core muscles. Now she does it when she wants food or a head scratch. Here’s a photo of her training session:

Grabbing-Food-Bowl.jpgImage Enlarger

Bella-Many-Names smiley4 is already standing on her toes so she can still sit back and wave!  Everyone is right in saying she will figure things out and find her new way.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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28 September 2019
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29 September 2019 - 10:03 pm
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Bella is about 10-11 years old.  She sits like a meerkat as well and is very vocal during her playtime (usually after dinner).  It will be an adjustment, but I’m glad this will enable me to spend more time with her.

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30 September 2019 - 4:18 am
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Brownie has always been a vocal dog. Every time he wants something he barks! Potty, walk, food, play and he doesn’t stop until he gets his way, and I have always given in. After surgery it took about 3 weeks for him to get his personality back, but he did. I think it took a little while for all the meds to wear off.

Bella will be the same dog she has always been, just on three instead of four.

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