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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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New Here - Zoey's Story
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Member Since:
18 November 2022
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29 November 2022 - 6:43 pm
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Hello, just wanted to introduce ourselves... 

Zoey, our 11 year old lab mix recently became one of the newest members to this group after having a front left limb amputation. About mid-October we noticed Zoey was limping on her front left leg, and after a few weeks of taking it easy and giving her joint supplements, it didn't improve so our primary care vet did an Xray. She couldn't really say for sure what was going on but suspected bone cancer. Fast forward only a few days and a tumor started emerging on her shoulder blade. The tumor grew at warp speed and from the time we initially saw the vet to 11 days later it was the size of a baseball. Our primary care vet recommended an Oncologist at that point if we were going to try and have a chance at treating it. 

We were so lucky to get into an Onc only days later (due to a cancellation and being willing to drive 1.5 hours away) and they confirmed that it did look like sarcoma, but they couldn't be sure what type and couldn't do a biopsy. They did so a needle aspirate but advised us it would probably be inconclusive and to prepare to an amputation because that was most likely the only way they could get it all. 

We took her on a last minute trip to the beach, did a lot of crying (and soul searching) and by the time the weekend was over the tumor had almost doubled in size and she was in such bad shape I thought she might die before we even had a chance to do the surgery. So when they called to let us know the needle aspirate was inconclusive we knew our only option was surgery asap. We were very lucky they had another cancellation the very next morning so we had basically no time to process it and just trusted our intuition that this was the right choice.

The surgery went as well as it could have - they did the amputation, also taking the scapula and some lymph nodes. My husband was in denial that they were really amputating so that was hard but I had already spent the entire weekend on this site and came to terms with it as best as I could.

Her surgery was on 11/16 and she has been home since the 18th. She's doing really well all things considered. The first couple days were rough - seeing her without a leg and the incision was huge, not to mention her being so tired and just really sad. I definitely questioned our decision the first couple days, but she was making small improvements day by day so I kept holding onto that. This past weekend she really turned the corner and is back to herself, begging for treats, following me everywhere, and trying to do things that she should not be doing. 🙂 I'm a helicopter (dog)mom and have been keeping her from doing too much but it's so amazing to see her smiling again and acting like her old self.  

Zoey has always been such a special girl, her rescue story is incredible and she has beat the odds once already when she was 9, undergoing a dangerous emergency splenectomy, only to find that tumor was benign. Sadly, this time the biopsy came back and her tumor was Osteosarcoma. We will see the Onc again on 12/6 to get her staples removed and talk next steps for treatment. I know it's an aggressive cancer and we won't have forever with her, but we are really just going to enjoy this bonus time that we have thanks to amazing veterinary care and modern medicine. 

I've been lurking on here for the past few weeks and this site has been a lifeline for me, so thank you for existing! 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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29 November 2022 - 7:35 pm
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Oh Zoey, you are such a rock star! I'm so happy you are doing better and on the mend. I have a feeling that with your track record for beating the odds, you're going to kick cancer's butt in a big way! 

Richelle it's nice to have you here, thank you for sharing her story. As a senior dog, it's not an easy decision to make, but you and your husband moved quickly and can now see that Zoey will handle life on 3 beautifully. Her story will inspire others who need reassurance, so keep on posting and letting us know how she is doing.

Your future posts won't need approval so post away!


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 November 2022 - 8:56 am
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Although  getting to this point in the journey hasn't  been easy, you have the type of pawsitive  attitude  that helps give Zoey the  confidence she needs to get on with life!  Even this early onin rec, she is showing us all she is a true Tripawd Rockstar!

Good for you for recognizing  "little improvements " are actually HIGE improvements!  And ot still gets so much better!

I remember  all too well early on in recovery  questioning  my decision.   I asked myself over and over, "What have I done TO my dog?".  Soon, I was so grateful  to jave done this FOR my Hapoy Hannah!

Keep us posted and give Zoey some extra treats and smooches for us, okay?


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie 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!

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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30 November 2022 - 12:55 pm
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Richelle Horn said

Zoey has always been such a special girl, her rescue story is incredible and she has beat the odds once already when she was 9, undergoing a dangerous emergency splenectomy, only to find that tumor was benign.


I think you slipped this in at the end to see if we read your post fully... I, for one, would like to hear more about Zoey's incredible rescue story, if you would like to share!

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 November 2022 - 1:01 pm
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Oh my gosh YES! I want to hear it too, thanks for pointing that out.

Member Since:
4 April 2019
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4 December 2022 - 7:55 pm
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Hi, I always love reading a good rescue story so please tell.

My lab, Brownie was three weeks before turning 12 when he had front leg amputation due to cancer. His vet told me he had three to five weeks if we didnt amputate. I was in denail at first. Nothing is going to happen Brownie will be here forever is how I thought. So we went on as normal besides the pain meds. Right at three weeks a lump appeared on his ankle. I started researching and found this site. I knew if other senior dogs could do it so could Brownie. Brownie did awesome and I don't regret it one bit. I will be honest and there is a lot of ups and downs fighting this disease but the good totally out weighs the bad.

Sending positive thoughts to you and Zoey...

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

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