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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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Chewbacca is Happy!
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Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
19 February 2009
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19 February 2009 - 1:56 pm
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I'd like to start by thanking all who post here.  Our decision has been so much easier with the stories and descussions I have found on this site.  I don't think I ever would have thought amputation would be best for Chewie if I hadn't read the stories here.

Chewie our Rotweiller has had a rough six weeks.  A progressive worsening lameness caused by the chip in his elbow joint was addressed in early January with removal of the chip and a shortening of the bone in his leg causing the problem.  Less than a week into his recovering we found ourselves in  the emergency room at midnight with his stomach flipper over.  Surgery again.  By the begining of February he was really starting to recover and barely limping.  Then he took a turn for the worse.  On a friday he started really limping.  Return trip to the vet the following monday found a fracture in the upper leg bone.  Xray and biopsy confirmed the cancer that caused the break.  By the time confirmation came from the biopsy chewie was in terrible pain, as so many of these cancer dogs are familiar with.  Despite the fentanyl and tramadol the fracture and cancer pain together didn't give us much time to decide.  Day before yesterday he had the amputation.   

Druing the last five months or so Chewies pain increased slowly, which was actually caused by the chip or was it from the cancer??? Point is mute.   But it has been a long time since we have seen him feeling great.  Yesterday, home from the hospital, my Chewbacca is back.  Back, full of kisses, following me around the house and with ears perked.  Oh my goodness I missed him.  He is sooo happy.  We still have to chemo decision to make and that road to travel if we choose to go ahead. But, my husband and I agree (as we also think Chewie would too) even if he is only with us for a month or even a week the surgery would be worth it.  What a gift to him to see him happy.   Getting up and down without crying, his old cuddling and kisses and even playing already with his sidekick the little poodle.


Forum Posts: 173
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19 February 2009 - 5:27 pm
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What a great post….all of us can relate to the emotions you are feeling and seeing our fur kids happy and pain free again. Best of luck with the rest of your journey and please keep us posted!

Paula and Spirit Max

Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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19 February 2009 - 5:54 pm
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Heidilynn, what a nice post and I'm sure many of us SO relate! And poor Chewie (I have a friend with a Chow named Chewie) – he's been through a lot, poor dude.

Cooper had a similar course…he has elbow dysplasia and late last August had a jump down injury during an agility trial…one thing led to another and in October he had surgery to remove fragments, just like Chewie. He was stable for a while on Adequan shots and doing PT…then started getting much worse, I was consulting various vets about options (stem cell therapy, replacement elbow, fusing, etc) and he was re-checked and a needle biopsy came back negative for cancer. Then he got WAY worse, fast and subsequent xrays showed an unmistakable large tumor on the elbow, half the rear part of the joint was just gone. That was a week ago Monday, on Friday he was amputated. It was basically a helll of a week, everyone on this forum probably went through the same thing.

That is so great Chewie is doing well, so soon! You might find that he goes through some sleepy and sore times yet, but isn't it great to have them obviously free of that awful pain? How old is he? Do you have pictures of him and the poodley? 🙂

I also have another Rottweiler girl, a pitbull mix and a little JRT x cattle dog. They're all shelter/stray dogs. It figures the well-bred dog would be the one to get cancer. 🙁

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28747
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25 April 2007
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19 February 2009 - 6:57 pm
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Can you hear us going “awwwwwwwwwwww……yeay!” from here?

We are so happy that you found this site and it's helped you out so much. Thank you for sharing your story; by doing so, you are helping someone else later on down the road who needs that reassurance that life on three legs can be great!

Chewie sounds like a doll, and you are awesome humans for acting so quickly in his best interest. What a luck bunch you are!

If you get a chance, post some pics here, we'd love to see what he looks like!

Keep us posted on how he's doing. If you need anything, there's a great group of people here who are right there with you, ready to help. Good luck!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
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19 February 2009 - 7:13 pm
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Your excitement for Chewie can be felt in your words.  How wonderful is that!  It is always so wonderful to hear such heartwarming stories.  This site is a blessing for all of us.  Just hearing all the other stories give us the boost we need to keep going!  You guys rock!!

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Forum Posts: 8
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19 February 2009 - 8:32 pm
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Thanks for all the encouragement.  Cooper sure has been a trooper too!  Although Chewie is still pretty in and out of it like Carina suggested he did spend some time out rolling on the lawn today.  Can you see my smile.  Thanks again guys. 


Forum Posts: 8
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19 February 2009 - 8:36 pm
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Image Enlarger

sorry about that… there we go!  the kids Laugh

Forum Posts: 729
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19 February 2009 - 9:13 pm
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Oh WOW – what a beautiful boy!!! He looks very content as he is posing to show everyone – hey, this is NO BIG DEAL!

I'm sorry for the circumstances surrounding this quick decision and it sure sounds like your boy was a hell of a trooper, but we are just thrilled to have Chewie here as part of our wonderful family…Jerry's place is JUST amazing. You will find everything you need here as you walk (and hop) this journey with your boy…love, friendship, support, understanding, a shoulder to cry on, an expert (Dr. Pam) and a wealth of information. We hope that everyday is full of more smiles, wags, cuddles and kisses.

Please keep us posted on how his recovery is going and if you have any questions, someone is always here to answer them…or just listen.

Here is to a speedy recovery!


Heather and Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Northern Indiana
Forum Posts: 356
Member Since:
15 January 2009
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19 February 2009 - 9:32 pm
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Great to hear your story about Chewie. I am soooo glad he is pain free and that nasty cancerous leg is gone.

We had a similar story with our Paris, a 4 yr old Lab with intermittent lameness for months. She had a biopsy that they thought showed a fungal infection, but she worsened and a second look at the tissue was inconclusive. By the time she was amputated on Jan 5th, this had gone on for 5 months like you. So I understand how hard it is to see your dog in horrible pain.

Whatever decision you come to about chemo or not you cannot find a better place to get support than on this site. We made the choice to do a course of Carboplatin for Paris.  You will see on this site that there is no right or wrong answer and that you and your dog together will decide what to do.

By the way he is such a beautiful and handsome boy and I love his little friend.

Take care and love him one day at a time, Gineej & Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris… regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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20 February 2009 - 6:53 am
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What beautiful dogs! Quite the pair…that photo is a keeper.

Forum Posts: 2
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20 February 2009 - 8:52 am
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Thank you so much for sharing your story.  I have a 12 year old JRT who is my baby.  She had a mast cell tumor removed in October but due to the size they were not able to remove it all.  She was doing great and had a check-up in January and everything looked good.  Then two weeks later her leg started swelling again and we found out yesterday that she had another mast cell tumor and the best treatment would be amputation.  I cried all night just worried that it would affect her personality and quality of life.  She is having the surgery today so it is nice to read your story and have some reassurance.  Thank you so much and I will keep you posted about Onassis.

Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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20 February 2009 - 10:06 am
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Onassis's person, please post a separate thread about her when you get her back home with you! My Rottweiler just got amputated last Friday afternoon and is doing very well. You'll be amazed, I think…best wishes on her surgery. One of my dogs is a JRT x Australian cattle dog, she's a pistol. JRTs have SO much personality. Hang in there.

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