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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Our new life on 3 legs - a little shaky!
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Member Since:
8 December 2011
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17 December 2011 - 11:44 am
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Well if I start at the beginning, I waited and weeded through all the breeders of Belgian sheepdogs for 1 1/2 years until I found the perfect breeding for me. I planned each and every detail of the start of Raleigh's life and found a breeder that was a deeply caring and compassionate woman who spent far more time and money on her litters and dogs than she could ever recoup with her breedings. She bred for the quality and substance of the breed.

When he was born in Maryland, I anxiously waited by my computer screen for the video camera of the whelping box to begin. I knew from the moment I saw the Red puppy that he was my eagerly awaited Raleigh. I kept the window open on my screen whenever my computer was on. I drove from Richmond, VA to rural Maryland more times than i can count and I know my breeder had to be sick of me showing up at her door, but i couldn't stay away. He was perfect from the moment I saw him to the present. We've had a few moments of "what have I done" over the past 7 1/2 years, but otherwise he's been my partner in crime and the best sidekick I could have ever dreamed of.

We went to the vet because Raleigh was limping and cried out in pain when he fetched the ball three times. We expected a sprained ankle or that his neck was sore again - not OSTEOSARCOMA!!! I saw the xrays and it was obvious that something wasn't right. We went to the oncologist the next morning and had his front right leg amputated a week later. Now(2 weeks later), we started our 1st of 4 rounds of chemo with carboplatin, then we will start either the metronomic therapy or Palladia and the metronomic therapy. We were able to get Raleigh into a study at NC State. The study is out of Ohio State, but has study sites all over the country. We're actually moving to Texas after chemotherapy, and will start his further treatment at Texas A&M. The study is testing to see if Palladia in conjunction with the metronomic protocol will increase survival times. We are crossing our paws that we get into the Palladia group and not the control group.

Raleigh is doing so great with all the changes in his life. He just takes it in stride, while thinking "Mom, what's your malfunction - everything is fine". I wish I was half as brave as he is. He hasn't been wearing a harness because he hasn't needed the help getting in the car. I bought a ramp and he just stood next to it a jumped in and then later, out at the end of the trip. I had him walk up and down it on the leash, but he seems to prefer it the old way for now. We have 8 steps to get into the house, and he did fine with just the leash to help guide him. However, my ex- husband built him a 20' ramp with AstroTurf (that Raleigh loves), so that he will be safer in rainy, icy, or snowy weather.

We took a mattress and box spring and put it on the floor in the downstairs bedroom, so that Raleigh could get in the bed for sleeping while he recovered. His recovery has been pretty uneventful, no need for many meds and he's always ready to go more than I planned. We do have hardwood floors and we have had some slipping issues, so he is wearing a grip trex boot and sock on his front foot for traction and stability. It would work better if the boot would stay on, but he has long skinny paws. They may be a medium in width but they are a large in length. We're planning to try the large skyliners to see if we can get a better fit.

Back to the harness issue - last night was his 1st night back upstairs in our bedroom, you know getting back to the usual routine. We have 14 wood steps up to the second floor. He went up last night with no problem at all, then leapt up on the bed like "same old, same old". I did put a bowl of water on his bedside table, so he wouldn't have to get down in the night. Everything was going perfect, so I didn't think a thing this morning about going down the steps, up had been no problem. Well, 30 seconds later, both of us are splattered on the downstairs floor. Now, I see the need for a harness. Fortunately, I had planned ahead a year before and bought a "Help Em Up" harness. So that in case I had an emergency, I could pick Raleigh up by myself. Well I unhooked the back half of the harness, and strapped the front on Raleigh, and we've been practicing for the past 2 hours periodically going up and down those stairs. It's like falling off the horse, you've got to get right back in the saddle. Raleigh was scared to death and mad as hell at me for making him go down those steps again, but the next trip down was safe and easy and he got lots of cheese at the end. After about 20 trips up and down, it's gotten easier to the point where he's running up and down the steps to get the cheese.

So that's who we are and where we are so far. And we'll see what the next challenge will be.

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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17 December 2011 - 12:28 pm
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I'm so glad Raleigh is doing so well.  Tripawds are amazing.  My Daisy is just 1 week post amp but she still wants to do everything just like nothing has happened.

Good luck with the recovery!

Marla & Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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17 December 2011 - 12:33 pm
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Welcome to you and Raliegh - sorry you had to join us, but I really think you won't find a better, more supportive group out there. 

I find that cheese makes everything better. It's our motto around here - don't be shy with the cheese.

Hope the trial you are in does amazing things for Raliegh. We did similar things w/ Abby (in a nut-shell in my sig).

Best of luck to you. We'll be wantin' to see some pics of your boy when you get a chance!

Jackie, 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 Jersey
Member Since:
4 June 2011
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18 December 2011 - 9:25 am
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Welcome to you and Raleigh. We look forward to hearing more and seeing pictures, of course!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 December 2011 - 6:01 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds, we're glad you found us. Raleigh sounds like a trooper and you definitely have everything in order! We look forward to following along on your Tripawd journey and hearing about Raleigh's new life in Texas. Thanks for joining!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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