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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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Cooper the Rottweiler is home!
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Forum Posts: 132
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11 February 2009
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15 February 2009 - 4:59 pm
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You know, I had read all these warning articles, and been told, not to freak out or cry or get upset when I saw my dog with the missing limb and all those staples. And you know what? Cooper looks freaking beautiful to me without that nasty old cancerous leg! And he smiled! He is on NO pain meds right now and seems a little tired but very alert. He came home, I took him out back to pee all over the yard, he came back in and had a small bowl of green tripe and is now laying on his bed (on a bunch of towels because there is still some drainage…he has a tube.)

Honestly, he appears to be quite content right now but I just put a Fentanyl patch on him – he's tolerated them just fine for the last almost-two weeks. Moving around makes the wound drain a bit, when he is lying down it stops. He bounces around well on three legs – he's been three legged for a while anyway because he hasn't been using the bad leg.

Red blood cell count is still a bit low (28%) so I guess vitamin B12? Iron? Tincture of time? There was concern before surgery that he may need a transfusion,and his return was delayed because his PCV was low. But it's been creeping up, and he is eating, drinking and bouncing around pretty well. Although I had to carry him up the stairs to my house, and just discovered that picking up a three legged Rottweiler, while being careful with the suture site, is a bit trickier than picking up a four legged Rottweiler!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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15 February 2009 - 7:24 pm
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Wonderful news for Cooper.  Sounds like he will get along just fine.  I, also had no problem seeing Trouble minus one leg.  She was so alive and happy, it just seemed natural.  Being a tripawd gives them a second chance for a longer life. How lucky for all of us.

Have a speedy recovery Cooper.

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: 104
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15 February 2009 - 8:42 pm
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Bringing Marley home last wed was the first day I didn't cry in 4 weeks! (since the diagnosis) I was so anxious about seeing her, but who needs a leg that causes so much pain?!? I felt like she was smiling too – for the first time in months! she just seems like a different dog. We're anxious to get through the recovery period and really get her back 100%. 

So glad all's well so far! Yes, it is tricky to pick them up that first time with the incision… 

Holly and Marley

Linden, MI
Forum Posts: 458
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15 February 2009 - 9:36 pm
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Yay!!!! I am so glad Cooper is home and to hear he is doing well. You are right, once you see how relieved they are now that the pain is gone, you don't even get freaked out about the missing leg. When Nova came home I just sat there with this stupendous smile on my face, I couldn't believe how happy she was to hop around, eat, pee, etc.

Green tripe….yummmmmm… Nova loves that too. Get that boy some rest and some big time snugglin'!

Big sloppy Dane kisses from Nova!

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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15 February 2009 - 10:48 pm
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He is sleepy (I put a Fentanyl patch on him) but seems really comfortable. Actually, he rolled over and slept on his left/incision side for a while. He hasn't done that in weeks, because the leg was too painful.

OK…let's see if this works. I can't insert a hyperlink or post a link here? I keep getting blocked from posting, this is about the fourth try! I was going to post a link to my webshots album with recent photos, but can't.

Here and Now


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15 February 2009 - 11:18 pm
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Carina said:

…I can't insert a hyperlink or post a link here?


You can certainly include links and images, not sure what you mean by “getting blocked” – please feel free to explain in the Tech support forum.

Here's some links that may help:

Sounds like Cooper is doing as well as can be expected. Thanks for the update!

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15 February 2009 - 11:23 pm
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http://pets.web…..1389AyTPBT

I was getting a message to the effect that there was an embedded link (well yeah, I added one) and to…change it to plain text, or some such? I know how to add hyperlinks; at least I do it plenty of other places! Just pasted the link above – two day post op shots, let's see if this posts.

Here and Now


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16 February 2009 - 12:33 am
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That link worked just fine. Let's see if Webshots plays nice when trying to embed their photos …

Cooper three legged dog two days post opImage Enlarger

Well it's not exactly intuitive with Webshots, but it seems to work!

Just click on their icon for “Copy code to post in forum” then copy the “Direct link to Image” and paste that in the Image URL field when posting a reply. For best results, select the 425 pixel size.

Thanks for sharing!

Forum Posts: 132
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16 February 2009 - 8:12 am
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Oh, thanks! I wasn't sure how webshots would play either, and since I couldn't just post pics that were on my hard drive thought the link would be easier.

I left him sleeping on his bed in the office last night when I went to bed (it's right across the hall from the bedroom) and when I woke up this morning, he was on my bed. He's really adapting very well and quickly mastering the art of the three-legged hop.

Linden, MI
Forum Posts: 458
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16 February 2009 - 9:03 am
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WhoHoooooo!  3 days post op and he's on the bed already!  That's so exciting!  Looks like he's gonna do just fine at this.

When does he go back for his first follow up? Are they sending the leg anywhere for analysis so they can figure out exactly what this is?

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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16 February 2009 - 9:40 am
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Yes…the leg is being sent out for analysis, but I'm not sure where to. I haven't been seeing Wilson long enough to know which vet school he tends to deal with for this sort of thing. This whole last week has been such a blur it seems that there's always some question I forget to ask! Drain comes out Thursday morning…actually my regular vet will do that. No point making the long drive to Wilson's just for a tech appointment. And ten days for the staples – so early the following week I guess.

I've been trying not to baby him – well not TOO much. And let him figure out how to get around so he can build back some muscle. This whole ordeal started months ago with sudden lameness cutting his agility career short, and the Oct 21 surgery, the recuperation and physical therapy, then him getting much worse…etc, up to last Monday's disgnosis. So he has gone from an incredibly well conditioned, high speed performance dog to gimping around and losing a ton of muscle.

His prognosis is still “guarded” but if he can have a chance to go to the lake or river and sniff around, or do some drop in agility classes and gimp through a tunnel or go over 4″ jumps for old times sake, that would make him SO happy!

Just to brag – his last good agility run was a USDAA Jumpers course. 14 jumps and a tunnel, which he did clean in 20.4 seconds, on August 26. (That's smokin' fast.) The next morning he was stiff, he did one run but I knew something was off so I pulled him from his next two scheduled trials. In four year agility career, he had four High In Trials and one Combined High In Trial. That means combination fastest course times and highest scores. This is really amazing for a middle aged/older Rottweiler, considering he was at times running against well over 100 dogs, many of them younger Border Collies and Aussies! So I am not kidding when I say he was a well conditioned, athletic dog…I am so very proud of what he accomplished. He has so much heart and drive. If I were to put him on the start line of a course right now I'm pretty sure he would put his all into trying to run it, because that's the sort of dog he is.

Sniff. I get weepy thinking about what if….! But now is time to move on and do my best for him. Because he always gave me his best, so it's only fair.

Here and Now


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16 February 2009 - 1:44 pm
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Carina said:

Sniff. I get weepy thinking about what if….!


Forget “what” and tell “if” to take a hike! Wink

Ask yourself, “What would Cooper do?” … dogs live in the now, and only now. They don't understand, “What if?” He would probably just thank you for taking away his pain, and  then – like you said – simply move on …

Perhaps after Coop regains his strength, he'll get back in the swing of things. Have you seen our three-legged dog agility videos?

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19 February 2009 - 1:31 pm
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Go Cooper!  So glad he is doing well.

Bringing Marley home last wed was the first day I didn't cry in 4 weeks! (since the diagnosis)

Holly, I am so amazed to see Chewbacca happy, with ears perked and following me around the house.  We are both feeling sooo much better with that stupid leg gone.  Glad you guys are BOTH feeling better too.

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19 February 2009 - 9:31 pm
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Carina said:

Sniff. I get weepy thinking about what if….! But now is time to move on and do my best for him. Because he always gave me his best, so it's only fair.


Jerry is soooo right about the what and the if (though we have all done it) and you hit the nail on the head about moving on and doing your best for him because they always give us theirs…You and Cooper have a chance now to develop your relationship in a different direction – that's kind of exciting you know? You get to discover new things together and wow, can't wait to see what he does next!!! His “4-paw” agility career is pretty impressive – you may be shocked what this boy can do on 3 legs!

On a different note, a heartfelt YIPPIE and Tail spinning that he's doing sooooo well so soon after surgery. Can't wait to see more pictures!

Love,

Mom and Zeus

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

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19 February 2009 - 9:43 pm
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[Image Can Not Be Found]

How about this one – this morning, six days post op? 🙂

Granted it was a very short run, and completely ignoring vets' instructions. Absolutely right…he always gave me his all in agility and other endeavors. I owe it to him to give it back. It's only fair, and while I may be a bit of a control freak with my dogs sometimes, I try to be fair and honest with them at all times. Because they are such honest creatures and turn around is fair play!

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