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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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And so it begins
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Forum Posts: 45
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6 May 2020 - 12:13 pm
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Hi everybody,

I have two beloved rescue mutts, Dexter and Bella. Both are some sort of hound mix. Dexter is the reason for my joining Tripawds today. A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, he went into a small patch of woods near my house. When he emerged he was limping. It didn’t resolve over the weekend so on Monday I took him to the vet. The vet said it was likely a sprain and given pain meds. It did not resolve, so the following week we went back. The worst I had expected was a torn ligament or some joint damage. I was not prepared to learn that he had osteosarcoma on his right front leg. Getting vet appointments at local oncology clinics during the COVID 19 pandemic was not easy. Some turned us away entirely (not taking any new patients) and others had long waiting times for appointments. After I told my sainted vet about my problems getting Dexter seen to promptly, she got me a next-day appointment at the clinic where he ended up getting his front leg removed. It came off May 4th, 2020. Today is May 6th 2020. He’s home already and seems to be doing really well. The incision is clean and though scary huge, seems to look as good as one could expect this early on. He’s eating, drinking, and peeing like a race horse. Still not pooping but the vet said he pooped yesterday morning, so it’s only been ~24 hours. I am currently trying to educate myself on all the things I need to know regarding how to help a giant three-legged dog get through such a horrendous procedure. I am so so grateful that to Tripawds – I don’t know how I’d cope without this amazing resource and community. I’ve just joined and you guys have already helped me find a better harness than the one the vet provided. I look forward to getting to know others and learning from their experiences and getting their advice. And once I learn something, of course paying it forward to help others in future. One last thing that I want to add is that I want to thank everyone for posting your BEAUTiFUL and HOPEFUL photos of your tripawd dogs! They are awesome! It’s so encouraging to see them smiling, playing, and enjoying life! When I first learned about Dexter’s cancer, I thought that my only humane option was to put him down because I just couldn’t imagine a big dog like him (120 pounds!) having any decent quality of life with a missing front leg. Because of the photos I’ve seen online of happy tripods, I realized that indeed, a happy life was certainly in reach. He’s here today because of the hope these images have given me. The biggest THANK YOU to all of you from the bottom of my heart!sp_hearticon2

Here and Now


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6 May 2020 - 12:33 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Dexter! Thank you for sharing his story, reply here with updates or feel free to start new topics about any specific milestones or questions. Your future forum posts will no require moderation.

While you wait for comments from others, use the Advanced Search above to refine your forum search results with specific phrases, and you’re sure to find lots of helpful feedback. You can also search all blogs here . Or, consider downloading the Tripawds e-books for fast answers to common concerns and feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime!

New York, NY
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6 May 2020 - 2:15 pm
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Hi Laura! Welcome to Tripawds!  I’m a relatively new member and have found incredible levels of knowledge and support here, so you have come to the right place!  I’m Griffin’s mama, and his story is very similar to Dexter’s – limping that I thought was a sprain or tear, diagnosis of osteosarcoma, and right forelimb amputation.  We are about a month ahead of you – Griffin’s surgery was April 2nd.  I’m so glad that you found hope and inspiration here, as I did, when struggling with the decision.  It’s great that Dexter is home and doing well.  I look forward to reading more updates about his progress.  Sending healing vibes and hugs from NYC! ~ Stacy (Griffin’s Journey)

Southern California
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6 May 2020 - 2:49 pm
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Hi Laura!

Welcome to you, Dexter and Bella. You’ve definitely found the right place to gather information, ask questions, and find the reassurance you need to tackle this! I’m really new here as well, about two weeks so far, but the community has been indescribably helpful while figuring all of this stuff out. 

I’m sure you will notice Dexter returning to form before you know it and I bet he will surprise you at how well he adapts to being a tripawd. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing his progression!

Shane and Aspen

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6 May 2020 - 3:15 pm
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Hi. I am sorry you are going thru this with Drexter. Yep, most of us had taken our dog to The vet for a limp, expecting a sprain. Then we feel like we got punched in the gut when we here cancer. Good for you for getting Drexter to the vet early, and so nice for your vet to get you in at the clinic. I’m sure you have been told this, but for the first two weeks take it slow. If you have hard floors non skid rugs work great. What kind of harness did you get? Brownie wore the flag Line and it worked great. Brownie was also a front leg amp. He was 90 lbs at time of surgery. 

Just wanted to welcome you and Drexter.  Sending positive thoughts for speedy recovery!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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6 May 2020 - 3:31 pm
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By the way thank you for rescuing Drexter and Bella.

You know what they say.  The best breed is a rescue! Would also love to see pics of Bella.

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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6 May 2020 - 4:34 pm
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Hi Stacey!

Thanks so much for your kind words of welcome!! I am so sorry that Griffin has had to go through all this – as they say, “this is no club that anyone would want to join”, but given what’s happened to us, thank goodness that Tripawds exists! Thanks for the healing vibes and kindness. As you have experienced, this is such an overwhelming time and it’s such a comfort to have the support from people in the same boat. I will read up on Griffin’s story and hope all is well. Thank you and healing vibes back to you all!

Best wishes,

Laura

Forum Posts: 45
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6 May 2020 - 4:37 pm
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Dear Shane and Aspen,

Thanks for the kind note – sorry that you are in the same boat as us but given that we are here, huge thanks for your support and solidarity! And especially for your words of hope that it’ll get better soon. It’s so tough. He’s such a big dog and still needs help to get outside to pee (hasn’t pooped since yesterday AM, so hoping something resolves there soon) and it’s hard to imagine him looking like all the happy dogs I see smiling in the posts. But if they could do it I suspect he can too. The support of all the other people going through this horrendous event helps so much. I wish you guys the best. Thanks so much!!!

Best wishes,

Laura and Dexter (and Bella too)

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6 May 2020 - 5:03 pm
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Hi there,

Thank you for your words of support and encouragement! You are so right about the “punch in the gut”. I’ll never forget how it unfolded. There I was in the parking lot, because, because of COVID, they couldn’t let me in, so I got the news alone, over the phone, in my car. I just sat there, stunned. And then the tears and sobs came. My vet tearing up too (everyone who meets Dexter loves him). She and I have shared many a hug – and I could have really used one of those right then. It felt like all the oxygen in the car disappeared, and the car was folding in on itself with me inside. I had to wait a bit before I was fit to drive home. 

We are now staying with my very dear friend and neighbor (across the street) because I live on the second and third floors of a house – there is no way he’d manage the stairs so she very kindly offered for us to stay with her. Her normally lovely “front parlor” is now a make shift hospital ward and hotel room. Mattress on the floor, etc. So he’s only got to manage about 4 stairs to get to the front yard to do his business. He currently can stand up on his own, turn around on the mattress to find a better position, and take a few steps. Beyond that, we need to use the (awful) “help me up” harness the oncologist provided. It’s terrible- loosens up as we use it – I have ordered another today (arrives Friday) – a Flagline harness (was recommended for a front-leg amputee) – so it’s awesome to hear that you recommend it, too! I know we were supposed to wait till the staples came out before using a harness, but honestly, we can’t move him without one (it takes two of us to get him down the stairs and outside), so we just have to be careful. Tripawd admin suggested we put a t-shirt on him to help protect the staples – great suggestion and he’s wearing one now.

I am sorry to read that Brownie Bubba Bell has passed but it is so great to read your dog made it over a year! I hope we can match your luck! That would be 10% of Dexter’s life and I’d be so happy to get that. I originally had thought I’d put him down – even made an appointment for yesterday – and so now, EVERY DAY I have with him is a gift. Every time I can make his tail wag, every time he can enjoy a treat, and in future, every time he enjoys a walk is a bonus. A gift. Something I will treasure and enjoy and remember. I am tearing up as I write this. Such a hard time this has been. And all of you who read this – all of you who have been through this – I know you totally get it. Thank you for banding together, for supporting each other, and for welcoming us!

Best wishes, 

Laura

Forum Posts: 45
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6 May 2020 - 5:05 pm
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Oh my goodness, thanks and yes, I agree – rescued is the best “breed”! I am a huge fan of rescue mutts and thanks to you for rescuing Brownie. I will find a good picture of Bella – she’s a wonderful dog and a great “sister” to Dexter. They are devoted to each other So glad they have more time together. Hope you are having a good evening and thanks again for the wonderful welcome and support!!!

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6 May 2020 - 5:25 pm
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I remember when I got the news. It was my birthday.  All I heard was pain, amputation, or put down. Like you I wasn’t going to amputate at first as Brownie being almost 12. But I saw how the pain Medication was no longer working, and I knew he still had a lot of life left. He amazed me! And he fought lime a true warrior. I do not regret amputating at all. Because we amputated we had a wonderful year! 

So front leg amp are good at going upstairs , but may need some assistance going down. Brownie could go down a few steps but  I was there to guide him. Rear amps are the opposite.

I say I rescued Brownie, but the truth is He rescued me, over and over again.

I am happy you found us, and looking forward to learning more about  Dexter and Bella and seeing pictures!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Virginia




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6 May 2020 - 5:58 pm
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WOW!!!  WOW!!!  Just catching  up in time to say YAY for Dexter….and YOU…..and your neighbor!!!   Such a kind way to help you and Dexter.

You have gotten such great advice and support from your new Ttipawd Family.  I can only say ditto and more ditto!

No worries about poopicon.   Becauze of the meds it may take several days for the poopicon to happen.  But when poopicon does happen, let is know!!  We love to celebratepoopicon.  aound here!!

Sounds like you’ve done a good job of researching  the site for information, but let us know as any quesrions arise, okay?  You’re  doing a great job!!👍

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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6 May 2020 - 5:58 pm
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Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you got the news on your birthday – how awful! I am so sorry! I am so glad you got an extra great year! I totally resonate with your words “he had a lot of life left” – so does Dexter! We just need to get through the next bit. I can’t wait till the next couple of weeks are passed and he’s more mobile and his incision is healed. These early days are tough.

You are so right in what you said about rescue. I “rescued” him, too, but he totally rescued me over and over. Having this sort of bond with an animal – a love that transcends species – is a special gift and one I am forever grateful for.

Hope you are having a nice evening.

Best,

Laura

Forum Posts: 1018
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6 May 2020 - 6:06 pm
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Well, the good news is this year on my birthday we celebrated his one year since being diagnosed. So that will be a good memory for next year.

So you said one year will be 10% of Center’s life. So I assume he is ten?

I know some Have used a harness before the stiches came out, but they would put a tee shirt on first to protect the incision site. Some have slipped a towel under the harness on top of the incision site.

Did Dexter come home with pain meds?

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

Forum Posts: 45
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6 May 2020
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6 May 2020 - 6:09 pm
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Hey! Greetings and thank you Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie!!!

I can’t tell you about all the outpouring of love and support I’ve been blessed with over the past week – neighbor’s kids leaving gift bags of dog biscuits and homemade cards for Dexter to “get well soon”, neighbors dropping off trays of raw chicken legs for me to make broth with for Dexter, other neighbors offering support in moving Dexter to his vet visit (getting him into the car is a production), other neighbors walking Bella (my other dog, who is wondering what on earth is going on) because I can’t leave Dexter alone right now – I am so awed and humbled by the love in my immediate neighborhood, and also SO GRATEFUL and also awed for the all the support I’ve gotten on Tripawds. WOW! Thank you you guys!!! We don’t know each other but we all have one shared commonality – a dog we love or have loved who has been stricken and needed a limb removed. People who don’t have dogs don’t understand the magnitude of the impact this has. But you all do and you are helping me and I send gratitude and love back for the support. THANK YOU!

Sally, thanks for telling me not to worry about the poo. I guess nature will help him figure that part out. He’s always “slow to start that” after anesthesia, so I guess this is just more of the same. I look forward to him “getting the mail moving” though. Will keep you posted, lol 🙂

I will totally let you know re: new questions! Thank you for being there if I need more help. I can’t thank you enough for the support. This is all so new and overwhelming and you being there is so huge and helpful!!!

I don’t know what I’d be doing without all this help. THANK YOU!!!

Laura, Dexter, and Bella 🙂 sp_hearticon2

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