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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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Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

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A soon to be Tripawd Ludo
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Forum Posts: 17
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15 May 2021 - 9:32 pm
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Hi Everyone,

Our pitbull Ludo is a soon be to Tripawd due to an Osteosarcoma diagnosis. Our sweet boy has been dealing with a limp and leg pain for about two months now, and just this last Wednesday we got the terrible cancer news- Osteosarcoma in his front right leg. We were obviously devastated and we thought there was no way we could amputate his leg. We were planning all morning to have to put him to sleep, but when our doctor called she told us that pretty much every single dog parent she has worked with would choose to amputate again. She also informed us that his blood work was good and there was no evidence to suggest the cancer had spread to his lungs. All this got us both thinking more critically about the amputation option. He is 9.5 years old, so our hope is that the amputation and chemotherapy will free him of his pain and give him the chance to live out his full pitbull life.

I feel strongly that we are making the right decision, but I can't help being so scared and worried about our Ludo. He still seems to have a zest for life, wants to play, and is still incredibly interested in snacks.  Reading through all your posts and seeing all your furry buddies living their best lives have been a great help. I'm not looking for anything in particular, I just want to briefly share our story and hope that some of you will keep Ludo in your thoughts as he goes into his surgery this Monday. We're hoping for the best and cannot wait for him to be free of this terrible pain

-Scott

P.S. Once I figure out how to share a photo, I'll show you all our big chonky boy.

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 May 2021 - 8:29 am
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Hi Scott, Ludo and family! Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

I'm sorry you are dealing woth this decision but your vet is right (great vet!). Just check out our Tripawds Quality of Life Survey results:

https://tripawd.....y-of-life/

We are sending lots of healing power your way! Keep us posted. Oh and

This is how adding images to the Forums works.

  1. Upload pics to a photo sharing site like imgur.com or your own Tripawds blog!
  2. Right click and copy the Image URL or just copy the image if you’re on a phone
  3. Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself) in your post. It should automatically appear.

If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 17
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16 May 2021 - 9:02 am
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Thanks, Jerry. Here is our boy!

Ludo came into my life thanks to my wonderful partner, Tessa. She adopted him in her early 20's when he was just a baby and he has been the light of her (and my) life ever since. He is a spoiled boy who love pancakes, snuggling with his mom and dad, and whining at them when he is not the center of attention. When Tessa and I decided to move in together he became a little brother to my cat, Optimus Prime. They have a relationship that can best be described as frenemies. Ludo will get the occasional nose whack from Optimus, but we do catch them cuddling together on occasion. We just assume they don't want us to know!

This has been one of the hardest decisions of our lives choosing to amputate. Reading through the survey (thanks for pointing that out Jerry!) was a big help. He's in an awful lot of pain right now, but we're trying to stay strong and help him get through this one last day. I think he is going to feel a lot better (and I assume a little bit weird) once he is out of surgery tomorrow. We're working on Tripawd-proofing our house right now. We've ordered him a raised food dish and are getting some rugs to add traction to our wood floors. I am a little concerned about his ability to get up and down stairs post-surgery. We have steps in both the front and back of the house that he needs to navigate to get out to potty. I have been carrying him out for the last few days, but I travel for work and am slated to be out of town for two nights a week after his surgery. Would anyone recommend getting a ramp? Everything I have read and been told lead me to think he should be able to get up and down stairs once he gets the leg removed. I can't help but worry endlessly about it though...

The Rainbow Bridge



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16 May 2021 - 12:00 pm
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Oh what a face! Totally SMOOCHABLE sf-kiss He has the look of a dog who is very, very loved and adored, even by his frenemy kitty OP! That photo is just adorable. Thank you for sharing.

Yes, it's a hard decision, there's no making it easier. We carry so much responsibility for the happiness of our animals, and this is one of the most heartbreaking choices we have to make. Admin and I cried buckets when we had to make that choice for our Jerry (I'm Rene, Jerry's mom). But I'll tell ya, when all other factors are in a dog's favor, like overall good health and mobility, well, life on 3 legs is worth the added quality time together. I'm not saying recovery is guaranteed to be easy or without issues. Things do happen, and you just never know. But most times, dogs and cats bounce back in time and it's us humans who have a harder time with it. We have so many emotions tied to limb loss, but they do not. They move on, happy to be out of pain and getting on with the things they love. 

Glad to see you're getting prepared. How many steps will he have to navigate? And do they have a no-slip surface on them? Did you see our Tripawds Recovery Shopping List ? We talk about harnesses a lot here, and one reason is because when you have stairs in your house, the harnesses in our store are a godsend. The Ruffwear Flagline is our all-time favorite for most front leg amputees. The handle on top will allow you to guide him up and down (the scariest part for a Tripawd), without actually carrying him. We find them indispensable for dogs who live in homes with more than 2 or 3 stairs. 

Enjoy your day together. Don't be sad that it's Ludo's last day on 4, be glad that tomorrow his bum leg will be gone and soon he will feel 100% again! Stay strong. You've got this! smiley_clap

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 17
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16 May 2021 - 12:17 pm
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Thanks for all of your kind words, Rene. They really mean a lot. And yes, he does have the most smoochable face! He typically gets enough kisses to make him grumble that he's gotten too many!

I've looked at some of the harnesses that you guys have on the website. It sounds like our vet (The University of Minnesota Small Animal Hospital) will be sending us home with a harness. We've been told it will have two handles and will allow us to help him get around. I'm not sure of the brand or exactly what it looks like though. As for the amount of stairs, in the back there is a set of 3 inside to get to the door and then another 3 off of the back porch. The front only has one set of outside stairs with 5 stairs total. Prior to his recent decline after his vet visit on Wednesday he was able to get outside the back door pretty easily. The inside stairs are a little narrow and were a bit tricky, but outside he figured out he can go down diagonally. Since his visit he has not been able to walk down, but has been able to walk up. I am hoping that since he is pretty much already walking on 3 legs he will be well equipped to take himself up and down post-surgery. He will, of course, have his harness on with at least one very attentive parent by his side.

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 30592
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16 May 2021 - 1:49 pm
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Haha you bet!

I'm going to bet the harness that they will send you home with is the Help em Up. We don't carry that one for various reasons but it should suit your purposes for recovery. That's neat they are including it. And very cool you get to have surgery at UofM. They rock! Incredibly advanced care, Ludo's a lucky dawg.

I think he should be fine with the 3 stairs, and at some point the 5 possibly as long as they are not slippery.

You guys are going to do great! I know it!

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




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16 May 2021 - 4:53 pm
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O,at, I'm coming g back, but had to say, I LOVE these pictures of your smiling Pittie!!  And feisty Optimis is a cutie too!

What I wanted to add very quickly is that I also said, "No!  Absolutely  not would I amputation  my 125 lb Bull Mastiffi's leg!"   I would manage the pain as ,long as I couwhi h ended  up not being very long at all.  My Vet asked that I at least speak  with an Ortho Surgeon and Oncolo.  Keep in mind, I had not heard of "Tripawds" st that point.

Finslly made "the" appointment...then cancelled  because I was so scared!.  Finally rescheduled  and it was THE best decision  I ever could have made to give her glorious extended  quality  pain frre  time!

 Ore later, but just wanted to confirm you are making a decision  out of love for Ludo, and that is ALWAYS the eight decision.   On top of that, clearly Ludo is up for the challenge and wants to continue  to embrace a life full of zest and love!

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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16 May 2021 - 6:23 pm
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Thanks, Sally. I'm so glad you got all that extra time with your pooch! We're excited to get any additional quality time with our boy and are most definitely making the decision out of love for him. We're all feeling some night before surgery jitters here. Ludo is still in quite a bit of pain, but has been able to have some relaxing moments napping with his mom and soaking up the sun in our backyard.

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His big brother Optimus has also selflessly tested and approved one of his new orthopedic dog beds:

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Here is hoping for a restful night for Ludo and a very successful surgery tomorrow! I can't tell you how much just getting to post and reading all your words of encouragement has helped me. I'll be sure to let you all know how he does tomorrow!

Have a good night everyone.

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 May 2021 - 9:27 am
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Awww sweet photos. Optimus is HUGE!

We are thinking of you all and sending lots of sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2for an uneventful surgery and recovery! Keep us posted! I'm in the Tripawds Chat for about another half hour (it's 9:30 mtn time), and then I'll be back this evening if you have any questions. You can also call the Helpline 844-TRIPAWD and leave a message, one of us will get back to you asap.

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

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17 May 2021 - 12:59 pm
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Thanks! It's great to hear you guys even have a phone line!

Compared to recent nights, Ludo (and us) had a fairly restful and calm night of sleep. We dropped him off at UMN early this morning and just heard back- Successful surgery! He is currently recovering and waiting to wake up. We are both so relieved and are eager to hear more about how he is doing. We have reviewed all of our tripawd proofing and are going to try our best to have a relaxing day. We miss our boy and can't wait to see him tomorrow!

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 May 2021 - 3:22 pm
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YAY for successful surgery! That's wonderful! Big hurdle down, now rest up and know that you are as prepared as possible for a smooth recovery.

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 17
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17 May 2021 - 8:44 pm
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Hi All,

This is Tessa, Scott's partner and Ludo's mom. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement over the past couple of days. You have been a huge help.

Before we bring Ludo home tomorrow, I have a couple of questions for the community:

  1. Should we leave the mattress on the floor for the time being? I've read conflicting advice about this on the site. I know he won't be able to jump on the bed right away, but I also know we should keep things as normal as possible. While he was in pain, we moved the mattress to the floor of the living room, so he didn't have to worry about jumping on the bed or the couch. It's been on the floor for the last two months, so it still being in the living room won't be a shock.
  2. We also bought pet stairs/ramp when we thought he just had arthritis. It's still in the box. Has anyone found stairs useful for bed/couch hopping?

Thanks in advance!

-Tessa

Virginia




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17 May 2021 - 9:12 pm
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So glad to hear surgery is done! I'm sure Ludo is probably still seeing some pink elephants right now and resting comfortably. So  make sure you get some good rest tonight too.

As far as continuing with sleeping on the mattress on the floor, that's a good idea for now, especially since he's familiar with that Arrangement anyway. Right now you don't want to do any jumping up and down that could cause the incision to tear.  

Yes, you do want to keep routines as normal as possible but in the early days or weeks of recovery adjustments have to be made in the interim,

You may find that once the stitches are out and he's able to get back on the bed again you actually won't need stairs or ramp Etc. It just depends on how high up the bed is. I actually have a very firm dog bed pushed up next to my bed is that the dogs use as sort of a step. And it provides a good song sort of cushion when they get off of the bed too.

When you go pick Luko up, don't even bother to look at the incision. All he wants to see is your happy smiling face and hear you tell him he's a good boy and he's going home! Let us know how things go once you get a chance to catch your breath.

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



Forum Posts: 30592
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18 May 2021 - 9:47 am
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I hope your reunion went beautifully today! I'll try to answer your questions:

Regarding sleeping on the floor. As you've discovered, we personally are not in favor of it, after talking to rehab therapists who advise to keep things as normal as possible. Sleeping on the floor with your dog is not normal for most folks. However, we get that lots of people will still do it, and we say, whatever works and keeps your stress level down. When someone has a 2-story house and the dog is used to sleeping up stairs, but can't use them for the time being, then sure, we totally understand why someone would sleep on the floor. It's kind of an individual thing in this community.

About pet steps. We love them. We are fans. Anything you can do to minimize the impact of getting on and off furniture is wonderful. Ramps are a different story, many dogs won't use them at first, but after training, they do. If you have steps already then it can't hurt to use them. After all, every dog will hopefully age to the point where they will need assistance like that, so it's never too soon to have them available. The things we recommend for a Tripawd of any age, are things that pets will require when they become seniors anyhoo.

Let us know how today goes!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 17
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18 May 2021 - 1:43 pm
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Good news everyone! Ludo is home and is doing great! We went to pick him up a few hours ago and right when they wheeled him out in the wagon he seemed to be his usual happy self! He has already peed, drank a bunch of water, and ate some chicken. He has been able to hop around pretty successfully too. Definitely a little wobbley, but we couldn't be happier with how he is doing. He is currently snoozing on the bed.

We are both are so relieved to have him home and see him doing so well. We know it's still a long road ahead, but it seems he is already much more comfortable with the stupid cancer leg gone.

I'll be sure to give you guys some more updates, but right now we've got a very good (and stinky) boy to cuddle!

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