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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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Harvey Defies Odds against Arthrodesis and TPLO Surgery
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The Rainbow Bridge



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26 March 2008 - 8:36 pm
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My friend Eric just wrote to tell me about his beloved pal Harvey, who came back from the brink of starvation to become the most loveable Tripawd pit-bull on earth. Harvey is not only a Tripawd, but also had an Arthrodesis operation on his other leg, like my pal Samuel Jacob. Harvey recently blew out one of his knees, and is looking for advice from anyone who has had "TPLO" surgery, because his vet is recommending it. If you have, please let us know about your experience.

Meanwhile, here is Harvey’s wonderful story.

Harvey, a three legged pit bull dog



My name is Eric and my dog’s name is Harvey. I found Harvey about 2 years ago while walking my other 2 dogs at night by a park. He was in a bush wincing and covered in oil with a rope attached to him that looked chewed up at the end. All I saw where the white of his eyes. He came out of the bush limping and seemed to be begging me to help him.

I was a block from my house so I walked and he followed with my encouragement. When I opened my house door my wife looked at what I had found and started crying. We both wiped our tears and loaded him in the car to go to animal control emergency. When we arrived there we explained that we would like to turn him in to get help and if nobody claims him we would be interested in adopting him. She said that due to the fact that he is a pit bull mix and has injuries he will surely be put down if we turn him over. We said thanks for the straight information and promptly turned around and walked out.

On the way home we were silent then I turned around to the poor guy and said “if you are cool with our cat Jackson you can stay with us”. When we got home I brought him inside and held his leash while Jackson walked up to him and sniffed his nose. Harvey turned to me as if to ask me “is that ok?” We said “ok little guy, your home”. We gave him a nice bath and laid him next to our bed.

So the next day my wife took him to our vet and he said Harvey had broken both back legs from what looked like being hit by a car. He had Giardia and was severely underweight. His back right leg had a severed tarsal bone and would probably need surgery. He put Harvey’s leg in a cast and said to openly feed him. For the next six weeks that is what I did, feed him and walk him. Never having a pit bull before I was amazed and the looks and comments about this breed I would get in my own neighborhood. People were telling me this dog would eventually kill my other dogs and that he is a special needs dog.

All I knew is that when I looked into his eyes I knew this dog that we named Harvey had more sole than so many people I had met in the world. He was and is a trooper with so much heart and love that gives me inspiration in my own life. Today he is an ambassador of the breed and we fight intolerance and ignorance by example when we are at the dog park or anywhere in public.

Harvey had a Tarsal Arthrodesis (fusing of the right back leg hock area) that did not work out. We could never get an answer about why it didn’t work. Believe me we followed all instructions to the letter. After many consultations and one very difficult decision we decided to amputate the leg. The amputation surgery went very well, and he has healed remarkably. However, now his other back leg is in trouble. He has blown his knee. Two different vets have recommended TPLO surgery. I have done lots of research and understand the surgery and recovery process; however, I have not run across anyone who has had experience with a TPLO surgery on a dog that has one back leg.

Do you have any advice for Harvey? Please tell us here!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Crystal Grange
2
10 April 2008 - 9:26 pm
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My Timber had 2 TPLO surgeries. She tore her ACL and we had the first one done when she was 5. Then 1 year later she blew out the other knee and had the same surgery done on the other leg. She did just fine. Se ran a little funny and sat funny but she was fine. TPLO does not inhibit their movement at all. Timber was diagnosed with cancer last july and had her front leg amputated when she broke it. She got along just fine with her TWO TPLOs and being a Tripawd. Timber lost her battle with cancer, but she did great through all her medical troubles.

In your case, I think the recovery may be a little difficult. Timber favored her leg for about 2 weeks after her surgery and we had to limit her movement for 6 monthe while it healed.

I would really consider a cart in your case to let Harvey recover without too much pressure on the leg. Althought the vet may tell you to that using it will help in the recovery, but it is limited use. Don’t give up on Harvey yet, he can have a full life still with a TPLO!

Eric
3
14 April 2008 - 6:20 pm
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Thank you very much for your reply Crystal!! I am sorry to hear that Timber lost her battle with cancer. It sounds like she got all the love that could be possibly given by you. Our Surgeon said we just need to definetly limit use after the surgery but he does need to use it because it will help heal the knee. So we will be using a sling and monitor extremely closely for the duration of recovery. I would NEVER give on Harvey because he will never give up on life so we will do whatever it takes to get him back to full health. We just need to ask for any experiences like yours that give us information and hope.

Thanks again,

-Eric

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14 April 2008 - 10:21 pm
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Harvey is lucky to have people like you!!! We need more people like you in this world! It sounds like he is a really tough dog and will make it through just fine.

Dogs seem to handle things like this better than most people. It will probably be hard to keep Harvey from wanting to run and play before he should, he sounds like the type that will bounce right back. The key to recovery is just lots of hugs and plenty of yummy treats and belly rubs. When is he having the surgery?

Tripawds Rule!!!

Eric
5
17 June 2008 - 5:01 pm
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crystal grange said:

Harvey is lucky to have people like you!!! We need more people like you in this world! It sounds like he is a really tough dog and will make it through just fine.

Dogs seem to handle things like this better than most people. It will probably be hard to keep Harvey from wanting to run and play before he should, he sounds like the type that will bounce right back. The key to recovery is just lots of hugs and plenty of yummy treats and belly rubs. When is he having the surgery?


Hi, sorry for the incredibly late response! We have been dealing with the courts of Washington state for the past few months because my wife and I are trying to adopt her 3 year old second cousin that is in Foster Care right now. Unfortunatly we are getting the run around and delays due to major incompetence of the child protection agency and courts up there. Anyway, we wanted to time the surgery for Harvey to be right after we brought this little girl into our home so we could all help Harvey recover as a family. My wife and I would take the Family Medical Leave Act at time of adoption for 6 weeks which would be perfect for the inittial recovery. Now we are just not sure on the timing of this adoption so we are just going to have to do have the TPLO for Harvey soon.

We are worried about how we are going to keep him in a crate for longer than 8 hours a day while we are at work (we work 1hr away from home) Also, after 8 weeks of initial recovery how do we keep him from messing it up until full recovery because we have 2 other dogs and they are alone all day long… Right now I am giving him weekly shots of Adequon which are working well. He has spurts of energy where he runs quickly around but if he steps wrong he definetly feels it. So we know we just have to do it soon and start the recovery but it is going to be scary because he can’t afford to mess it up…But I do know this that little guy is one hell of a dog that will make it no matter what!! He has been through the ringer and he is only 3 years old. So it will be a sacrifice of no activity for a while so that he can live the rest of his life without pain and be able to run with his brothers freely at the beach again.

thanks for your reply, It means a lot !!

-Eric

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17 June 2008 - 6:11 pm
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Hi Eric,

It’s great to hear about what’s going on in your lives. Glad to hear that Harvey is hanging in there, what a guy! You have so much you’re coping with, you deserve some kind of good human award, that’s for sure.

Well now, about the first few weeks of leaving Harvey alone. . .

  • Is he already crate trained? If he is, then the first couple of weeks should be OK, he will probably just sleep most of the day.
  • Is there any way you can have a friend or dog sitter look in on him once a day?
  • Now, this might be pushing the envelope, but have either of you approached your employer about bringing him to work for a few weeks?
  • If that won’t work, what about trying out a doggie daycare or pet sitter that’s closer to your work, where you can go check on him at lunch? 

I’m not the best Tripawd to give advice, because my pawrents worked out of their home when I was in recovery. I know there’s others here though, that have dealt with this issue and will have great suggestions. My friend Jacqueline, Samuel Jacob’s Mom, will have some great advice for you if you contact her through Samuel’s Dogster page.

Please keep us posted on how things are going, we are all rooting for you and Harvey!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Eric
7
22 July 2008 - 1:38 pm
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Hi there Jerry thanks for response,

Well Harvey just had his operation yesterday. We adopted our new daughter last week so she is home with us and we all have at least 6 weeks off to help the Harvey recover while at home. The Doc said everything went well, it is just up to us to help the boy recover. So since he is not putting any weight on it now, we are using the sling. Things should go well just need to be careful. The next couple of days he should start to put weight on the leg.

thanks and we willl report back as progress continues.

-Eric

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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31 July 2008 - 11:03 pm
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Eric said:

Well Harvey just had his operation yesterday. 


Welcome home Harvey! So sorry for the delayed response. Since you’re not registered, the post required moderation and we accidentally overlooked it in the recent flury of activity here in the forums.

Hope all is going well … best wishes for a speedy recovery! 

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

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