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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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Levi - TriPawd to be...
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On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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16
8 September 2015 - 5:36 pm
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Hi Derek,

I’m sure we need one “Tips for Bringing your Tripawd Home” central location, I’ve added that to our To-Do list, thanks for the idea.

Regarding keeping him overnight. Unless your vet doesn’t have 24/hr monitored care with on-site staff (not staff who shows up sometime at night to check on patients), it’s ideal to leave him overnight. That first night can be rough. If your vet does not have 24/hr care and you don’t have a 24/hr ER clinic to transfer him to, then yes, he’s better off at home. Talk to your vet, it’s important to know what type of overnight care they have, if any. I would never advise leaving any animal alone overnight after a surgery like this, you just never know.

Here are my tips, I know others will have great ones too!

  1. Get your floors ready. Carpet runners, yoga mats, anything to add traction to the recovery area will give him confidence to get around while he’s super wobbly.
  2. Raise the feeder bowls. Leaning down to eat & drink is difficult when you’re learning how to get around on 3.
  3. Block off stairs, doors and other slippery areas.
  4. Create a recovery room, a safe spot where he can retreat, sleep and rest.
  5. Have lots of tempting treats ready, along with no-sodium broth to spike his water and perk up his appetite.
  6. Keep a stash of sheets and towels ready in case of fluid leakage on his bed.
  7. Get a 24/hr phone number for an ER clinic you can call if you have questions in the middle of the night.
  8. Have his pain medication filled and ready. You’ll need to keep him ahead of the pain, it’s always harder to control if you wait too long.
  9. Prepare your own state of mind. Remember, he will follow your lead. What you project, he reflects. Think confidence and hope, and so will he!
  10. If you want to put a t-shirt on him that’s fine. Your vet may choose to bandage, it depends on the vet.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
3 September 2015
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17
8 September 2015 - 6:02 pm
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Thank you so much!

Levi was diagnosed w/likely osteosarcoma at 7.5 years old in 7/2015 and became a Tripawd on 9/11/15. Loved life until he broke one of his front legs on 2/12/17. As x-rays showed clean bone, we decided to repair the leg. He recovered well, but in June of 2017, started to limp on the same leg. X-Rays showed return of OSA in the front leg. Levi crossed the rainbow bridge on 7/20/17, after over 22 months as a happy Tripawd. 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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18
8 September 2015 - 7:06 pm
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Looks like our Jerry pretty much covered everything!!

Levi is very lucky to have auch a great caregiver for his recovery.

Just to oiggyback on the tee shirt thing, you may have been making reference to giving Levi something with your scent on it to put in his “kennel” at the vet’s. The scent of home sweet home can give him some security and comfort.

Everybody reacts differently to how they want to pick there dog up the day of surgery. For me, I found it best not to even look at Happy Hannah’s incision but to jist focus on her eyes and tell her what a good girl she was and I just praised the heck out of her! Smooching, petting, clapping my hands, kossing her mug, just @etting her know how happy I was to see her! She wasn’t paying any attention to her “missing leg, so why should I ?!

There is a great bed I recommend for larger dogs and it’s called The Big Barker Bed .. It is made specifically to support the joints and muscles of bigger dogs. It’s firm very much an “orthopedic” bed. Something that nakes it perfect for the recovery of a tripawd is that it is firm enough so it won’t slip and slide as the dog tries to stand.

If you’re like most of us, you’ll be sleeping next to Levi for many nights. So make sure you have a comfy spot too!

Some dogs seem to sail through recovery with relative ease and some have a much harder time ( my Happy Hannah, a Bull Mastiff, had a “harder time”). Everyone here has first hand experience with just about every scenario you could ever imagine. Stay connected!!!

Let us know how we can help!

Looking forward to your updates AND pictures of your sweet Levi!

Hugs to all!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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8 September 2015 - 8:34 pm
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You are so welcome!

Here’s info about the bed that Sally was referring to, and other good ones we love.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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8 September 2015 - 8:38 pm
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Hi Derek and Levi…Nitro spent the first night at the vet’s and I’m very glad he did. He was at 24 hr vet clinic, so someone was with him at all times.  When we picked him up, I had the staff put on a t-shirt on him, more for my sanity than anything else. We also had the Ruff Wear harness by Webster that we got from this site and used that right from the start. It pretty much saved our lives, that harness.

As far as when you get home… if you have slippery floors, cover them with non-slip rugs. Yoga mats work really well too. We also got Nitro a raised water/food station so he didn’t have to bend over. We slept on the floor with him that first night – although there wasn’t much sleeping going on for us! I pretty much pet and rubbed him all night long. It was a rough couple of weeks, I won’t lie. Between my husband and I we were able to be with him for 3 weeks before we left him alone and went back to work. Make sure you keep up on his pain meds; I ended up setting alarms to help me with when to give them.

Most of all, stay calm, he will take his cues from you. One step at a time – we’re here for you.

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Member Since:
3 September 2015
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21
11 September 2015 - 8:39 am
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Today is the day…dropped him off around 8:30, surgery scheduled for 11:30. The tech said they had an amputation the other day where the dog was allowed to go home the day of, but that was a smaller dog. It will all depend on how he’s recovering. We left one of his blankets with him to give him some comfort if he needs to stay the night.

In the meantime…

* Floors are covered with rugs or runners everywhere he’d need to go, though I doubt he’ll stay on them..

* Feeder bowls are always raised anyway

* Fortunately, we don’t have any stairs – just 2 steps on the back deck. Sippery area of the kitchen is baby gated up.

* Pillows, blankets, and bed set up in a back bedroom in case he wants to go rest there

* Treats ready!

* Blankets and towels ready!

* 24-hour vet number handy

* Pain meds will come home with us

* State of mind TRYING to be prepared

* ImYunity ordered

 

Going to take my other dog for a walk and play with him to try to keep our minds off what’s happening as we wait for the call. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing (as much as can be hoped for)!

Levi was diagnosed w/likely osteosarcoma at 7.5 years old in 7/2015 and became a Tripawd on 9/11/15. Loved life until he broke one of his front legs on 2/12/17. As x-rays showed clean bone, we decided to repair the leg. He recovered well, but in June of 2017, started to limp on the same leg. X-Rays showed return of OSA in the front leg. Levi crossed the rainbow bridge on 7/20/17, after over 22 months as a happy Tripawd. 

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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22
11 September 2015 - 8:54 am
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Sounds like you are more than prepared to handle what lies ahead! If you are in a “good” place psychologically, I think that’s half the battle. Rest while you can today, long days are ahead of you for awhile. Paws crossed that surgery is uneventful and Levi is back home again soon. Keep us posted.

paula and nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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11 September 2015 - 9:20 am
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You guys are all set, good job!

We’ll be thinking of you both, here’s to a boring surgery and a speedy recovery. Let us know how it goes.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
3 September 2015
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24
11 September 2015 - 11:55 am
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Just found these wonderful tips as well!

http://anjing.t…..ign=buffer

Levi was diagnosed w/likely osteosarcoma at 7.5 years old in 7/2015 and became a Tripawd on 9/11/15. Loved life until he broke one of his front legs on 2/12/17. As x-rays showed clean bone, we decided to repair the leg. He recovered well, but in June of 2017, started to limp on the same leg. X-Rays showed return of OSA in the front leg. Levi crossed the rainbow bridge on 7/20/17, after over 22 months as a happy Tripawd. 

Virginia
Member Since:
26 January 2014
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25
11 September 2015 - 12:18 pm
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Awesome! You are WAY more prepared than we were. We brought Jake home the same day of his amputation. He was on a pain medication that made him high as a kite, so it was a pretty sleepless night of him pacing and staring at walls (and no doubt seeing pink elephants). We had a rough go at getting him to drink, so you might want to prepare for that just in case. Homemade chicken broth, with bits of chicken and plain rice in it is what Jake had for awhile. Then when he started to get his appetite back, we just added the broth to his food so he got liquid in. Not all dogs don’t want to drink, it just depends on the dog and how they react to the pain meds. 

Hoping for a very boring recovery for you! 

Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  

      

Member Since:
3 September 2015
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26
11 September 2015 - 12:58 pm
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We just got word that the surgery went well and that he’ll be staying overnight. I know my wife had wanted him to come home, but I’m glad he’ll be there getting the constant pain medication through the night.

Levi was diagnosed w/likely osteosarcoma at 7.5 years old in 7/2015 and became a Tripawd on 9/11/15. Loved life until he broke one of his front legs on 2/12/17. As x-rays showed clean bone, we decided to repair the leg. He recovered well, but in June of 2017, started to limp on the same leg. X-Rays showed return of OSA in the front leg. Levi crossed the rainbow bridge on 7/20/17, after over 22 months as a happy Tripawd. 

Maryland
Member Since:
28 March 2015
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27
11 September 2015 - 1:25 pm
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Good news! I’m sure it is a relief. And I think staying overnight is good. It is major surgery and he’s in good hands should any complications arise (knock on wood). He’ll be so ready to see you tomorrow!

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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11 September 2015 - 3:11 pm
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Thanks for sharing anjing’s post Derek, great tips!

It’s best he spend the night, please keep us posted on his progress.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Green Bay, WI


Member Since:
18 May 2014
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29
11 September 2015 - 4:21 pm
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SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS! Glad the surgery went well, and really, it is best that he spend the night. I was terrified of picking up Nitro the NEXT night, I couldn’t imagine bringing him home the same day! (I’m kind of a wimp). Use tonight to rest up, knowing that he is well cared for. Soon you’ll have your precious boy home where he belongs, and the healing can begin.

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

http://nitro.tripawds.com

"Be good, mama loves you".....run free my beautiful Warrior

Member Since:
3 September 2015
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30
12 September 2015 - 8:59 am
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Good morning all. Levi is home and resting – comfortably, we hope! The doc carried him out of the office, past the linoleum floors, to the concrete outside where he would be able to get a better grip. We had cut up grocery bags to use as a sling, so I was holding him with his harness in the front (just the regular walk one) and the sling in the back. He was still a bit woozy from the overnight meds, so it wasn’t a pretty sight. He got a couple steps in, then his remaining back leg buckled a bit. The doc said it was just the drugs though.

We got him into the car (with some crying when he tried to lay on the wrong side), and had an easy enough ride home. He peed all over the sling (and me!) when we got him in the house – oh well! He has a nice little bedding area set up. He took a bite of peanut butter and a couple treats. We’ll try the PB again here shortly when he gets his first does of oral meds for the day.

He was doing some whimpering when we first got home; he would try to sit up, then think better of it. For now, it looks like he’s relaxed enough to get some sleep, so that’s good. The nerves will kick in again, for us, when he wakes up and thinks about moving around, but we’ll stay strong for him!

Oh, and he doesn’t have a bandage on. A bit jarring, no matter how well we had prepared ourselves!

Levi was diagnosed w/likely osteosarcoma at 7.5 years old in 7/2015 and became a Tripawd on 9/11/15. Loved life until he broke one of his front legs on 2/12/17. As x-rays showed clean bone, we decided to repair the leg. He recovered well, but in June of 2017, started to limp on the same leg. X-Rays showed return of OSA in the front leg. Levi crossed the rainbow bridge on 7/20/17, after over 22 months as a happy Tripawd. 

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