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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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Newcastle, Australia
Member Since:
4 February 2012
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7 February 2012 - 3:00 am
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hello All

We live in Australia and on Saturday our precious Merlin was in a car accident which nearly took his life but in the end only took his hind leg. We are amazed he is even with us and his recovery has been so good so far.

Merlin is a 8 year old German Coolie, who is a true gentleman. He is gradually learning to wee with balance but yet to poop (not sure if he is too shy).

His pain patch will finish in two days and we will see how he goes (the vet doesn't believe he will need any more).


Lastly I would like to thank Jerry who I had the pleasure and good fortune to find in chat just after tell the vet to amputate..anything to save Merlin's life. It made the journey shared.

Looking forward to our onwards journey with Merlin

Julia, Hannah, Mikala and Merlin

7 February 2012 - 8:59 am
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Hello and welcome to the forum part of Tripawds!

Your future posts will not require moderation.

Sorry to hear about Merlin, but as fits his name he will soon be amazing you!

Maggie the tri-pug didn't poop until about day 5 or 6.  Partly the pain meds can be constipating, but partly because she had to spin before anything would come out!  For the first few days after her amp she would try and spin and fall.  But around day 5 or 6 she figured out her balance- she figured out how to spin using her remaining right back leg as a pivot point, and she pooped!

I would talk to your vet about pain meds after the patch.  Mag was on a patch, then tramadol for almost 2 weeks post op.  All dogs are different, but this is a pretty big surgery- and after being in a car accident you would think he would be sore in other places?  Tramadol does not always agree with pups, but there are other choices. 

Looking forward to hearing more about Merlin, and maybe some pictures?  Pictures have to be hosted somewhere on line, if you don't have a photobucket or other account you could start a blog here- its pretty easy.  Then follow these instructions for adding images to forum posts.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Edmond, Oklahoma
Member Since:
7 January 2011
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7 February 2012 - 9:36 am
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Welcome Merlin and family!  Cool name! We're so sorry about your run in with the car (how terrifying!) but we are so glad you survived and are on the road to a full recovery.  I agree with Karen; you'll certainly want some sort of pain meds for the next week or two-- they may make Merlin a bit "odd", but an odd dog is better than a pained dog.  Hoping the poop comes soon-- we hear at tripawds have been known to pray for poop!  Sending long distance recovery hugs your way!

Scout: January 31, 2002 to November 7, 2011

Scout's diagnosis was "poorly differentiated sarcoma"; amputation 1/11/2011.  Scout enjoyed 9 fantastic years on 4 legs and 9 glorious months on 3 legs.  If love alone could have saved you…

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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7 February 2012 - 11:00 am
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Sorry to hear about Merlin, but thanks fr joining! We hope he is doing well and look forward to following his progress.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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7 February 2012 - 11:18 am
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It must be something in the name.  Zeus is our tripawd, but his brother/littermate, Merlin, had ACL surgery twice during his life and the first time he didn't poop for seven days and the second time it was six days!  His system was just so very sensitive to the anesthesia that it took forever for his GI to wake up.  Hope you don't have to wait that long!

I agree with the others that you should keep an eye on him for pain.  I am surprised they didn't give you something to last the first couple of weeks.

Good luck with the recovery!

Lisa and Zeus

Zeus was a Husky mix diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at age 11.  A visible lung met and suspicious spot on his liver meant a poor prognosis-six weeks was our vet's best guess. We decided to fight for our boy and his right front leg was amputated on 12/1/11. We did six rounds of chemo, changed his diet and spoiled him completely rotten. We were blessed with 10 great months after diagnosis. Against the odds, the lung met remained a single met and grew very little over those months. A wonderful furbaby with the most gentle spirit, he fought with a strength that we never imagined he possessed. We have no regrets...

Leicester, NY
Member Since:
11 February 2011
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7 February 2012 - 11:28 am
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Welcome Merlin and family!!

Spirit Samson was Spirit Tripawd Daisys four legged "brother" and ruled as the self proclaimed head of the Monkeybutt Federations East Coast Division. Lady Chunky Monkey stayed from Oct 2011 and left for the bridge in Apr 2012. Miss Perdy is left and has some big pawprints to fill.
Do you have what it takes to be a Monkeybutt? Find out more at the Monkeybutt Federation

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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7 February 2012 - 11:32 am
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Welcome Merlin and Pack - sorry you had to find us here, but you won't be sorry you did. Lots of knowledgeable, supportive folks here if you have questions along the journey.

Please keep us posted on Merlin's recovery (we get excited about things like first tripwad poops), and yes, pics would be great!

You will soon see how awesome it is to be a Tripawd Pawrent. Welcome to this very special club!

Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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7 February 2012 - 11:32 am
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Hi Merlin (cool name!!) and family

Welcome to being a Tripawd parent. Good luck with the rest of his recovery

Sarah, Kayla and Sarge.

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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7 February 2012 - 1:21 pm
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welcome!!!  pictures, we definitely need pictures!!!  had to look up 'coolie', as my mind was going in a bizarre direction!!  hope the healing continues and merlin gets back to his magical ways very soon.


charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


Member Since:
18 January 2012
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7 February 2012 - 2:18 pm
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Welcome Merlin and family!  We're fairly new as well - We're on Day 11 after the surgery.  Isn't it amazing how quickly they figure things out?  Baby's latest challenge is to figure out how to get on the couch the right direction to lay her head on my lap.  If she gets it wrong she can't turn around (too big)  so she has to get down and try again.  She sits and stares at the couch for the longest time trying to figure it out.  All these little moments of progress are so precious.  10 days ago we wouldn't have imagined her jumping on the couch at all. 

I'm so glad Merlin doesn't have the cancer thing to deal with as well.   Rest when you can - the worry  through the first couple weeks is very tiring.  Ask friends for help watching him when you need to.  It's nice to get others involved because you develop a support system with people who will be comfortable with him as a tripawd right away. 

Have an uneventful, speedy recovery.


Judy and Baby

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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7 February 2012 - 4:26 pm
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Hi Merlin!  Sorry you lost your leg but glad you found us.  I'm new here too.  Daisy is just about 2 months post amp.

Best of luck with your recovery.

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Newcastle, Australia
Member Since:
4 February 2012
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8 February 2012 - 2:14 pm
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Hi All,

Thank you so much for all of your kind words it has really helped. I have enjoyed reading the forums and some of the blogs.

Well today we find out if the vet is right about Merlin not neding more pain medication. He finally did a poop...without even too much assistance.

He wants to tackle stairs but am getting him to wait. We have the added bonus of his remaining back leg having stictches in trying to get him to take it easy. He still gets rather tired after lunch time. But all in all I think Merlin is definately a magician and is amazing us with how he is going.

Kids will take photos to show later..they are better at that side of things than me


Julia, Eliza, Hannah Mikala and Merlin

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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8 February 2012 - 5:29 pm
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Great to hear Merlin the magician is doing so good. If you have any corncerns about pain meds just ring the vet, its better to have something on hand and even if you don't use it. Having to keep him still is a great problem to have 🙂

Can't wait to see pictures!!!

Sarah and Kayla.

Peoria, IL
Member Since:
8 November 2010
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8 February 2012 - 10:27 pm
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Merlin sounds like a sweetie, and I am so glad the recovery is going well. My Sammy had trouble learning to get up on the couch and be in the right position, as well. In no time (after a little bit of "phantom" pain slowed him down), he was getting up and down like a champ. We are looking forward to the photos!

Beth and Spirit Smilin' Sammy

Smilin' Sammy, March 16, 2004 – Dec. 5, 2011
Golden retriever, diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2010 — right front leg amputated November 2010. He fought valiantly to stay with us; but a second diagnosis of osteosarcoma, this time in his left front leg, was more than our golden warrior could overcome. He loved his pack — and everyone else he met.

We loved him even more.
Thanks for the pennies, Sammy. They helped.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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8 February 2012 - 10:50 pm
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Welcome Merlin and fam!  Gosh!  So sorry to hear about the accident!  How scary!

I'm glad to hear the recovery is going well.  Keep us updated!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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