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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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Cat - back leg tripawd -- has anyone experienced surgery on the good leg?
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
19 May 2016
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8 August 2020 - 6:14 am
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Hi - our female cat had her back leg removed 4 years ago (cancer) and has done remarkably well and has been healthy and happy until now.  We found a series of lumps on her back "good" leg, which turned out to be the same cancer as before.  It is still local so we opted to remove the masses, which are more than likely deep into muscle so healing will take some time.  Does anyone have recommendations on how to help her with her recovery?  I'm thinking walking and going to the litter box will be challenging given that this is her good leg that she uses to walk and prop herself up.  Any tips from experienced voices would be greatly appreciated!

Livermore, CA

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18 October 2009
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8 August 2020 - 9:11 am
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

It's nice to hear your girl has done well for 4 years! Is her name Daisy?  I'm sorry though that the cancer has come back.  Has she had the surgery already or are you in the planning phase?  What kind of cancer is it and is there any alternative treatments to surgery?

I know we've had some Tripawd dogs who had surgery on a remaining limb, but I can't think of a cat example right now. Dogs are easily (sort of) assisted with slings or harnesses, but I know not every cat would tolerate that (would any? I see a few cats using harnesses...).

Maybe one of our cat parents will remember an example, at the very least they will have some input for you.

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

Forum Posts: 3
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19 May 2016
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8 August 2020 - 10:02 am
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Hi - thanks for your response.  She has histiocytic sarcoma which was treated 4 years ago with amputation and CCNU chemo - it was awful for her and we will most likely not go that route again.  She also had a small mast cell cancer removed about 2 years ago without issue, but this is larger lumps in multiple locations on her leg and this cancer is much more aggressive and could potentially spread quickly so it seems to be the best option while the window is still open to remove the tumors and hopefully get clean margins to contain it.  No promises that it won't return soon, so deciding to put her through another surgery has been a difficult choice, but we need to try now for her sake because the only other option is to do nothing and watch it grow and spread to the point where we'll have to make a much more difficult decision.  She is scheduled for surgery next week so I'm planning for her needs now.  We have dogs too which have had multiple surgeries so we are familiar with the sling and I am going to make one which might help her through the first few weeks if she will accept it.  She is resilient and stubborn so she may surprise us and work it out on her own but I was looking for any help that will make it easier for her.  I see you too had a girl with dual cancers - so sorry.  Thanks again.


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11 July 2016
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8 August 2020 - 11:00 am
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Hi and Welcome, 

We are so sorry to hear cancer has returned, and unfortunately, no guarantees with any sneaky cancer. If it helps any if I was in your shoes, i would be doing the same having surgery asap and hope for clean margins. 🙏🏻 

We don't have personal experience to share on surgery on a remaining limb. We wanted to direct you to three paw Meleck. She only had two legs, one in front and one in back; this is what Joanna set up for her. 

We also have Feta, the cat. Here is Fetas blog  Feta the Three Legged Cat. She is now a bipawd kitty. 

I would make the litter box as easy to get into as possible we have ideas in this forum, Litter Box Tips for Tripawds - Member Tips also have pet wipes readily available to help clean up if needed. 

Limited activity surely will be recommended. We stayed in a spare room with Purrkins during his amp recovery. Some people use dog cages and playpens to limit movement. Whatever you did for the amp surgery recovery, I would do it again.

I did use a sling when Purrkins was in recovery; he is a front leg amputee. I used a tank top as a sling to help him balance and not teeter over. I helped him in and out of the box the first few days until we figured out the box needed to be altered a bit you will see that in the forum link above. 

Purrkins & his brother use a harness, but we did not try that in recovery since Purrkins was a front leg amp. It always depends on the individual cat and purrsonality Karen hehe yes some readily do, some won't move with one on and need a little training, some may fight you. I would experiment this week and see works.  

We wish you the best of luck & successful surgery. 


Hugs, Holly & Purrkins


Forum Posts: 3
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8 August 2020 - 1:28 pm
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Thank you!  Great idea about adjusting the litter box - I will check out the other forum you recommended for more ideas.  I set up our dog crate for her yesterday and as I type, she is sleeping in it :-). 

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