TRIPAWDS: Home to 21085 Members and 2062 Blogs.
All sites currently ad-free!

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.

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!


Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
New Tripawd mom/Any Dog sport competitors?
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Member Since:
10 December 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 5:29 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost


My name is Heather and I just became the owner of a Tripawd.  Her name is Fable and she is a four year old Silken Windhound.  I thought I would join here because I am having a lot of difficulty dealing with my dog's condition.  Here's the background:

I've had lots of dogs, I work as an Animal Control Officer and as a canine/feline Behavior Consultant.  I am also heavily involved in dog sports.  Fable was the first dog that I got as a puppy specifically to be my new agility dog.  I spent years researching what breed and which breeder to go with and when Fable arrived at 10 weeks she was everything that I'd hoped for.  She was smart, driven, athletic, and VERY affectionate.  She picked up basic obedience in no time at all and was top dog in her puppy agility classes.  However, things hit a snag just after her first birthday when she caught her right front leg in a gopher hole and broke it, clean through both ulna and radius.  We did surgery and she had a plate and nine pins put in, which were later removed.  Then we had another problem when the leg fractured from one of the pin holes that didn't quite heal so she went back into a splint.  Three days after that was finally healed and the splint came off she decided to take a leap at a bumble be and re broke the leg!  This time we did a cast.  Once the cast was off we spent just over a year in physiotherapy to make sure she was given the best chance at a sport career.  I started her back up in agility very slowly, jumps at ground level, and with the help of her therapist finally got her back to working at a minimal height.  Just two months shy of being able to compete in the "Specials" division where everything is lowered, she broke the leg again.  We decided to try a plate again but the plate shifted and made matters worse.  I was left with only two options, try an external stabilizer or amputate.  Seeing as I am also dealing with a new baby (2 months old), I just couldn't commit to the care it would take for the external pins/wires.  Fable lost her leg two weeks ago and is not recovering well at all.  She is depressed, hardly eats, doesn't want to stand on the remaining front leg and occasionally cries out.  We have been to the vet all through to try and figure out what the best medications and doses are but nothing seems to make much difference.

Not only am I devastated that my up and coming agility star is now unable to play, it kills me to see this once vibrant and feisty little girlie looking so pathetic.  I also feel guilty that I can't spend as much time with her as I'd like to because of the baby.  I have always been a dog person, my husband wanted the baby.  Don't get me wrong, I love my baby boy, but Fable was my baby first and I feel horribly torn between them and all my other animals.  I know there are still things that I can do with a Tripawd, but agility was my favorite thing to do in the whole world and I finally had my super star.  I also can't even imagine getting another pup until the baby is at least 5-6.  That's a long time to be away from something that you love doing.  Anyone else have their sport dog loose a leg?  Anyone compete in dog sports with a Tripawd?  

Feelin' just awful about my poor girl (and myself to be truthful) <:(

Heather & Fable

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 8:10 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Welcome. Your future Forum posts will not require moderation.

As a young pup, Fable should recover quickly and adapt well to life on three legs. Search these forums and the blogs here and you will find plenty of examples of very active dogs. Kess the BC is an active Frisbie dog, Bart is an AKC field trial champion, and Maggie was an excellent agility dog, all tripawds. 

Consider reading Loving Life On Three Legs now available in the Tripawds e-books library for lots of helpful information, professional tips, and how-to videos about the amount and type of exercise recommended for canine amputees.

Please keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 July 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 8:56 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Heather and Fable,

You should talk with your vet about pain. What you are describing sounds like Fable might be in pain, and many animals have a difficult time with pain management in the period after amputation. Some animals experience phantom pain and for some the drug Gabepentin has been very effective in treating that problem. Most active dogs seem to back to their old selves about two weeks after amputation, but some do take longer. Unless there is something else unknown going on, Fable should have a long active life.




Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 9:41 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Heather and Fable,

Sorry ou're here but glad you found u.s.

What apecial bnd you have with a very special girl. She IS your superstar and you are hers.! I applaud your commitment to her All'of us here uderstand how hard it is to watch your dog or cat in pain

I agree with long as everything else checks sonds like a pain management issue. Your vet has ruled out everything else, right? Clear of infectins, right? Is Fable n any eds that could be upsettnghis tummy? Whichpain meds is he taking? How much, how often? Any antibiotics that could be upsetting his tummy.

Could it also be that Fable is picking up on your energy and mirrorng that? Do you have any friends he likes who could come over and try and cheer him up...brnghim treats or toys?
Have you tried to help him with a slng? Front leggers sometimes find it a little harder t adjist tan rear leggers. Was there ever a t e when he came home that he could have over doneit and harmed his frnt leg or spine?

Has he jad his stitches out yet? If not, make sure vet does thorough check to make sure nne are left i. He does happen and t can cause pai.

Pan meds can cause a dog ot to want to eat sometmes too. I'm sure you've tried boiled chicken, etc. How 'bout cat food?

For at least the first three weeks after Hapy Hannah's ap., I was cnvinced I had mad a horrible decion. I can tell you, going towards her ten month ampiversary (knockngn wood over here), it was a GREAT decisin! Some dogs just take longer to recover..

Read the links Admin. gave o and you'll see that being a tripawd doesn't hold you back!

Jist ne ore thought.....could he be feeling a little down because of the new babymin the hme takingyour attentin? He's had an awful lotto deal with......and so have you.
Things will get better and his spark will co e back. Two weeks is still very eary in recovery! Now go hug him, snuggle up in his fur and tell him what a good boy he is !

Keep s posted, okay? We're here for you.


Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 10:02 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Heather,
My Tripawd was a little pug who did not adapt well to being a Tripawd at first. Most here found that after two or three weeks their Tripawds bounced back. Maggie was a slug who spent most of 6 weeks in bed. I felt terrible and was convinced that I had made the wrong decision. But Mag was stubborn and not adaptable- that is she didn't deal with change well at all. We had no medical complications, just a sensitive pug who took her time to come around. But once she did she hopped happily through life for almost 4 years.

Is Fable on any pain meds? Mag took Tramadol for two weeks, some pups need it longer than that. With all the leg breaks I assume you have a good idea how she reacts to pain and deals with the meds- is it different this time? It does sound a little like phantom pain as Ralph mentioned.

When I was getting used to Maggie as a Tri-pug I would dwell on what she couldn't do anymore. I was afraid she would miss things. But I finally realized that she wasn't missing things, it was me, and I tried to focus on the way she was finding new ways to enjoy her life.

Sounds like you have a lot going on emotionally right now- it's really important to be strong and positive for Fable to show her everything is still OK. I hope she settles in soon- she will amaze you!

Karen and Spirit Maggie

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Member Since:
10 December 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10 December 2013 - 10:28 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

The problem is my gut tells me there is pain in her "good" leg somewhere.  She was on Tramadol, Metacam, and Gabapentin when she came home but she wasn't doing well at all.  She was constantly shaking, panting, and whining.  The vet had me take her off the Tramadol and she seems better (no longer shaking, panting, whining) but she seems to yelp a LOT when using the other leg.  She also doesn't want to stand on it, she balances on her back legs when we try to set her down, straightens the leg and won't allow it to bend, and it has taken five min to get her to even place the "good" foot down.  I even took her back to the vet because I thought she had somehow injured the other leg, but they gave her a throughout check over and could find nothing wrong.  It doesn't seem to me to be about pain at the amputation site.  She lets me massage the incision area with not a hint of pain but if I pick her up on the opposite side or she takes a few steps she yelps.  I just feel helpless since the vets say there's nothing wrong with her "good" leg.

As for the baby, she LOVES him, at least she did before she broke the leg and all this went sour.  She LOVES kids and has from day one.  Being a trainer I made sure to proof her way before the baby came and adjusted routines so it wouldn't be a big change.  Heck, I teach other people how to prepare the family dog for a new addition!  I know that's not the problem. 

As for her feeding off of me, well she could be just a little bit.  But there have been times I'm feeling like she may be looking better and I get hopeful but then she takes a step and yelps again and won't move until I pick her up.  She just wants to lay in bed all the time and she almost always looks uncomfortable.

I know it's only been two weeks, but she had the leg plated and pinned for a month and was hopping around on three legs before the amputation just fine.  She just doesn't seem to be getting any better and I'm starting to get concerned that she'll never get there.







Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11 December 2013 - 8:43 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost


Could it be a pinched nerve or something like that in her shoulders or neck?  I know you said the vet has checked her out but that could cause occasional sharp pain. Do you have access to chiropractic or acupuncture in your area? 

I'm just guessing now, hoping something will help.

I hope you find some relief for your girl soon.



Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Member Since:
22 November 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11 December 2013 - 9:16 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost


My Franklin was a front leg amputation, and although he did not have any of the symptoms that your girl is experiencing, I do know that others have helped their puppers adjust by using a sling to help them get around for the first little bit..   I also raised up the bowl for him so that he didn't have to strain down to the floor on his front leg.

The panting and whining could be the pain management and perhaps phantom pain .  It seems like you may have that under control with adjusting her pain medication.

Have you tried spicing up her food a little bit?  a little gravy? or chicken mixed in to entice her to eat?

When you say that she sems to be in pain with her other leg.. it could be a sore muscle that could be the culprit.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you about icing and heat to help alleviate the sore muscle and help to ease it out.

There are a few on here that have had agility dogs.. as a matter of fact Maggie's pawrent was still working with Maggie in agility as a tripawd!!!

I hope things work out for you because they realy do manage well on their three legs...   I'm crossing fingers for you!

Christine..... with Franklin her heart♥

Franklin, he was the Happiest Dog on Three Legs! Diagnosed 09/26/2012 with Osteosarcoma, amputated 12/4/2012.  Had a wonderful 5 1/2 months painfree until he ran for the Bridge on 5/15/2013.  Always in my heart, and always a guardian angel of my pack...   You can follow his Tripawd Adventures, before and after, in my blog, Frank'n'Farter!

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: leaux
Guest(s) 66
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1218
Members: 15984
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 17854
Posts: 247815
Administrators: admin, jerry, Tripawds
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.
All sites currently ad-free!