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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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Woody's Mama
8 January 2020 - 7:02 pm
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Our 10 year old lab mix Woody has a huge mass on his leg the oncologist is recommending amputation. I have never faced anything like this before and not even sure we can afford the surgery. Does anyone have any advice they could give on quality of life, what to expect during recovery and cost? 

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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8 January 2020 - 9:51 pm
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Hi and Welcome! You’ve come to the right place. Sorry you are dealing with this decision though, we know it’s not easy.

I’m on my phone now so I’ll be quick for now…I wanted to get your post approved so others can see it.

Meanwhile I recommend checking out Jerry’s Required Reading List and our What to Expect series to learn more about life on 3. And stay tuned for more feedback from the community. I will be back with some thoughts tomorrow.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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new hampshire
Forum Posts: 249
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26 June 2019
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9 January 2020 - 8:48 am
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Hi woody’s mama,

Im sorry that you and your sweet boy have been put in this situation. I know between the shock and the worry we stress and second guess to the moon and back. Hopefully we can give you a little info and support.

Did the oncologist have a guess as to what the lump is? (Mast cell, osteo, soft tissue sarcoma?) Really wheather you decide on amputation or palliative care the important thing is to manage the pain. It sounds like your vet felt woody was a good candidate for amputation? 

As far as quality of life goes dogs see the world so much differently then us silly humans. Once the pain of that bum leg is gone most dogs move on and have a good quality life. Recovery is different for every dog. For the first few weeks its lots and lots of rest and proper pain managment. Some dogs do chemo some dont. There are no right or wrong decisions.

What are your floors like? Carpet or throw rugs are a plus for traction on 3. I know im throwing alot at you but we’re here to help you navigate if this is the route you choose to go. 

I believe we have a post under tips and resources titled, cost of amputation and chemotherapy for dogs. That might give you an idea on cost. It seems to vary greatly depending on demographics and vet practices. Your oncologist is probably the best one to give you a quote. As much as we hate it finances play a big part in the decision for us all. We have a few resources for finding a certified practice if you need them or want to shop around. 

I know its hard with all this being thrown at you. Please know that there are no wrong decisions. Hopefully this helps. Feel free to ask questions and we’ll do our best to help you answer them.

Sending lots of love and good vibes to you and woody.

❤ Bev, Moe cat, autumn angel Roane & angel dog Gypsy 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

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13 December 2019
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11 January 2020 - 4:59 pm
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Hi Woody’s Mom,

I hope you are doing well and I know this news is such a shock. My 7 year old lab just had his front leg amputated about 3 weeks ago. I was shocked and so upset. I am sure every place is different. In regards to price we paid $3500 for the amputation. We should have paid a little more but we already had spent so much on trying to find out what was wrong. So just sending you the price so you can get an idea but I am sure every place is different. 

In regards to after..this website is so helpful on that. For Odin he is tired but has gotten around really well. Like everyone will tell you all dogs are different. We have hard wood in most of our house and didn’t put any rugs for him and he has never had a problem…Even his first night home was fine. Now our master bedroom and family room are carpeted so he moves across the hard wood to then be in those rooms which are his favorite. We bought him the harness however we are not going to use it. He has gotten down and up the two steps to go outside just fine and we have come to realize he will never go down them again but can still go up. So if we want to go to our finished basement I walk him around the house to get there and he’s been fine. We stayed on the floor with him to sleep till his stitches came out and that was our choice cause he is a bed sleeper with us. Now that his stitches are out he sleeps back with us in the bed. 

I believe it is well worth it. I would do it again hopefully I never will have to but he seems so much happier. It is a shock to see but I know we will have him with us for a while. In Odin’s case he doesn’t need any other treatment cause he had a nerve sheath tumor. I am unaware of what it’s like if your dog was to need chemo. Hopefully some of this helps but he seems very normal to me. A little more tired but same loving Odin. Good luck to you and Woody.

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