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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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Really Terrified
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Member Since:
17 February 2019
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17 February 2019 - 9:25 pm
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My BFF is having a front leg amputation in four days. He hasn’t used his leg in over a year due to pain and injury. It’s atrophied and in the way but every once in awhile he does set it down, maybe for balance? I worry about doing this. Two vets agree that it needs to happen but I just feel so scared that it is the wrong thing. He is a big chesty dog and he used to be happy and active. He has been cranky and withdrawn for months and we are hoping he will finally be pain free. 

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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17 February 2019 - 9:54 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

What is your boy's name? What kind of pup, how big, how old?

It sounds like you have done your work getting two opinions. Chronic pain would make any of us cranky and withdrawn! If he is in constant pain and not using the leg then maybe look at it this way: you are taking away a useless and painful leg and giving him a pain free life. 

I know amputation seems so drastic, but if the leg is painful and not going to come back then you are giving him a gift!  The first couple weeks post amp can be bumpy but recovery is actually pretty quick considering the surgery- most pups are back to themselves for the most part in 2 or 3 weeks.

You might want to look through the Reading List for lots of information on what to expect from amputation and recovery.

What specific questions and concerns do you have? Lots of experience on this site and we are here to help!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

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:
22 February 2013
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18 February 2019 - 3:34 pm
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Ditto everything Karen said!

Of course you are terrified!  I'm  pretty certain I can add stressed to the max, fearful, uncertain,  exhausted  mentally and physically, worried  out of your mind.....does that start to described how you feel??   We understand  ALL those emotions!

And we also understand how relieved  you will feel when recovery is complete and your pup's sparkle is back bigger and brighter than before!!  Yoj WILL get to a point fairly quickly where you realize  you did this FOR your pup, and not TO him!

My Happy Hannah was 125 lb Bull Mastiff who had a rear leg amp.  After recovery (and recovery was no picnic  for a couple of weeks), she pranced around like a graceful ballerina!  Big dogs, big chested dogs, dogs of all sizes do amazingly  well in three!  I really, really believe,  based on what you've  said, your boy will do just fine kn three.  He's  already a tripawd, but with PAIN!  Now he will be a pain free tripawd who gets to be happy again!!

STAY CONNECTED  and let us know how we can help.  Any questions, don't hesitate  to ask.   We have lots of tips on how to keep a tripawd's joints healthy.  


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!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 February 2019 - 5:46 pm
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I can't wait to learn more about your dog. Do tell so that we can help you during this transition. I think you will be amazed at what a change in personality he has once that painful leg is gone. 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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