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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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Tank, a very new Tripawd!
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Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
9 December 2011
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14 December 2011 - 7:07 pm
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Hello everyone!
I've already started a blog for Tank, now finally getting us into the forums!

I discovered the value of forums and topic specific sites when I had my knee replaced 7 years ago, so as soon as I knew Tank faced an amputation I found this site.

Tank is an 81/2 year old German Shepherd. He has not been officially diagnosed with cancer as of now. He started limping about 4 weeks ago. A couple days later a lump appeared on his right wrist. Our vet was not on duty the day we took Tank in for his first look at the leg. The vet on duty took x-rays and told us she suspected cancer. I asked to have our vet review the x-rays when he came in. He was in a couple days later and agreed it appeared to be cancer. He wanted to do a bone biopsy, but he had to order a needle. A week later he did the biopsy but he warned us that it didn't look good, the bone was very mushy and he couldn't get a very good sample. Another few days later the results came back negative for cancer.

The next step was to check him for Valley Fever, a blood test, another few days and tests results were negative for Valley Fever, which put cancer back on the table. Tank had developed a cough at some point and we were in the vet's office for a re-check on that when we were discussing what our next step would be. Our vet was thinking that he needed to take a good look at the bone to determine for sure that it was cancer. He needed to work up an estimate for the surgery, so while he was doing that, my son and I took Tank back to the truck and I went back in alone. The receptionist was all excited and sent me back to get Tank, another doctor had stopped by and our vet wanted him to take a look at Tank.

That vet turned out to be an orthopedic surgeon. He took a look at the x-rays, test results and Tank. He felt there was no other choice but amputation. He felt it was cancer and the sooner the leg came off the better. That was last Friday, and Saturday we checked Tank into the hospital and the surgery was Sunday. Now it's Wednesday and I'm just overwhelmed its all happened so fast! The surgeon says there is a 90% chance the test results on the leg will come back as cancer. He was quick to point out that there was always a chance Tank would fall into the 10% and not to give up hope.

Tank came home yesterday and I think he did too much. He came home and promptly hit the back yard and pottied like a pro, today is a tired day!! I'm fussing over him too much, but that's my nature. I'm sorting thru the forums, there is so much love here, it's truly amazing! I look forward to learning about all the Tripawds and their loved ones!!


Three legs and one ginormous smile!

Tank's adventures can be enjoyed in his blog:

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12451
Member Since:
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14 December 2011 - 8:04 pm
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Welcome Lisa, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Thanks for sharing Tank's story. He's a beauty! And it sounds like he's doing great. Consider adding a link to Tank's blog in your signature, from the Profile button at top right.

In your heart, where I belong.
Forum Posts: 1153
Member Since:
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14 December 2011 - 8:43 pm
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Here is your official Welcome to the forums! It's the place you never wanted to be but will be glad you found. If that makes sense...

Overdoing it can be common, I think, when the pain meds let the dogs get kind of carried away. Then they pay for it the next day. But hopefully Tank will settle down and get some rest and begin to recover. Then you can, too. I've read Tank's blog and I think his pictures look great! He's a big, strong boy and has a lot of love in his life to keep his spirits up. Please keep posting to let us know how he's doing.


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 30577
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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14 December 2011 - 10:06 pm
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Tank, you are such a cool pup, we're glad you're here in the Forums too!

Many of us here were faced with the whirlwind of being told we might have cancer, and then whammo! the leg is gone! Doesn't give our pawrents much time to think, so they tend to get really worried. That's OK though, I know that you'll show them soon enough that there's no need to fret over you. After all, you and I both know that dogs do better than humans when it comes to dealing with adversity. Who cares that we're a tripawd now, because the pain is gone and that's all we want, right?

Lots of dawgs crash and burn right after coming home like that. You'll be OK in a few days, just wait. Try not to do too much. Sleep is good right now, there will be plenty of time to pawty when you're all healed up.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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San Diego, CA
Forum Posts: 2503
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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14 December 2011 - 10:25 pm
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Welcome to you and Tank. You'll find lots of info and best of all lots of support here.

The first couple of weeks can be hard but most folks see their pups acting more like their old selves once the pain meds are done and the stitches are out. There can be some ups and downs until then, but we're here for you if you have questions.

I'll check out Tank's blog. You'll see that the dogs adapt much more quickly and easily than we do! Being a tripawd mom is awesome! Be ready for Tank to start amazing you.
All the best,
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!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4344
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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14 December 2011 - 10:39 pm
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Welcome Tank! 

What a beautiful boy!!!

Sorry we missed your amputation day and blog posts.  I did see it and wanted to make my way over to welcome you. But we lost Gayle, one of our Tripawd Warrior Princesses and it was heartbreaking.


However, I'm so glad to hear Tank is doing well and I'm glad you found your way over to the forums!  Feel free to ask questions!

We love fussy moms........cause that's what we are!

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.

Forum Posts: 114
Member Since:
16 July 2009
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14 December 2011 - 10:46 pm
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Lisa and Tank,

Welcome to the Tripawds world. It is a place none of us want to be, but after living with it we don't dwell on it. There is too much living to do to worry about missing a "spare" leg.  I expect you will hear from Codie Rae soon since she really likes her shepherd boys. Here at the home of the Oaktown Pack we currently have three Tripawd GSD's in residence. We no longer worry about the missing "spares" because we are too busy trying to keep up with everything that is going on all the time. The silly humans worry about the missing legs, while the dawgs just worry about what needs to be done next.


The only difference between a Tripawd and a quadpawd is that the Tripawds cannot go as long or as hard, but their hearts are just as big or bigger. Every time one of these Tripawds takes off running it reminds you that you can do anything you set your mind to. One of the recent comments on the Spotlight video that features a Tripawd says a lot about how inspirational they can be: "Once the the dog started to run I was like, okay this is officially my favorite music video."


We are all hoping for a speedy recovery and more good times in Tank's future.



Columbia, MO
Forum Posts: 483
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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15 December 2011 - 6:10 am
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I'm so glad Tank is doing so well!  We're new here, too.  My Daisy just became a tripawd Dec. 9th and like Tank she has overdone it a couple times.  So far we've had a couple of "bad" days, but she keeps getting better as I'm sure Tank will.  They are so resilient.

Fuss over them as much as you can.  Daisy is still being served her meals and treats on the couch.

Best of luck with Tank's recovery!

Marla and Daisy

My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Forum Posts: 707
Member Since:
14 April 2010
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15 December 2011 - 6:19 am
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Welcome to the family. You story is a bit like our as our biopsy came back negative, but by the time we messed around from our initial visit about limping to surgery was almost a month, and by that time Gus was in so much pain I couldn't wait for the surgery, so kudos to your vets for acting so quickly. Trust me when I say don't regret not having time to think about it, time is everything when you deal with this crap, so now your on the road to recovery, can be a bumpy one so hold on for the ride, but once you get past the rough part you will be amazed at how well these guys do. Hopefully you can find a good combination of meds that work, some dogs have issues with certain meds and you have to adjust to find the ones that work best. Grap some sleep if you get the chance, most here find it's something you don't get much of the first couple weeks. Most of the anxiety during recovery is self inflicted, so if you can keep the nerves in check you will find the dogs do pretty good for the most part, some take longer than others to heal, but so do we. Don't be afraid to ask questions, experience gives the best answers, Paws Up, Spirit Gus and Dan

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

Golden Girls
15 December 2011 - 7:56 am
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Just wanted to wish you a very warm welcome to the Tripawds Family. You'll find that there are many fussy moms & dads here.

Sounds as though Tank is doing well, just don't let him overdo it.

Post more pics when you can, and keep us posted on his recovery.

Sending you lots of golden hugs,


Leicester, NY
Forum Posts: 422
Member Since:
11 February 2011
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15 December 2011 - 3:44 pm
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Welcome Tank!

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

Forum Posts: 93
Member Since:
14 December 2011
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15 December 2011 - 6:25 pm
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Hi Tank and Lisa.  This is my first post too.  Lucy, our beautiful Lab/border collie has been diagnosed with a nerve sheath tumor in her front right leg.  Her MRI from Tuesday was inconclusive but the orthopedic vet is sure her symptoms and lack of reaction to rimadyl is a tumor.  We are deciding on a date for the surgery.  We're so nervous.  I am nervous about the recovery but the vet says Lucy is healthy and positive and will recover well.  I hope you and Tank are weathering the recovery.  We will pray for you here. Please give us updates soon.

Lucy's front right leg was amputated 12/19/11. Thankfully there was no tumor, but her nerves were found to be degenerative.  Life as a tripawd is Lucy's new adventure!!

15 December 2011 - 9:01 pm
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Hi Mary G,

Welcome to Tripawds.  Your future posts will not require moderation.

Please consider starting a new thread under Share your Story so we can hear more about your beautiful girl Lucy.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
9 December 2011
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15 December 2011 - 10:52 pm
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Hello everyone!
This is such a warm forum, so much positive and uplifting people who have been blessed with amazing dogs!

We suffered the loss of our Lab, Velvet, just 3 months ago due to complications from Diabetes. She went blind and had surgery to remove the cataracts and replace her lenses in her eyes with artificial ones. She regained her eyesight and managed to live to age 11. Facing to loss of Tank so soon has been beyond stressful. With Tank not having a diagnosis I still hold onto hope It will not be cancer.

Tank has had some bouts of wild crying/ whining yesterday and today. I'm wondering if it's maybe phantom pain . He sees the doctor Saturday morning, so I'll be able to get him help for it.

I have decided Tank is just like a 2 year old child! If I walk out to the room, he follows, so I have to work in the room hes in. Have attend to crying at night and be way behind on sleep! Just constant attention, I'm getting too old for this sort of thing!'

Having a forum like this is so helpful, being a rookie in the amputation ring, all I'm good for is asking the questions, eventually, with experience I'll be able to help others!

I have been updating Tanks blog daily and I've posted lots of pictures!

Three legs and one ginormous smile!

Tank's adventures can be enjoyed in his blog:

Forum Posts: 93
Member Since:
14 December 2011
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18 December 2011 - 9:21 pm
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Lisa-  Sorry to hear Tank is having some problems.  I do hope you received good news from the doctor.  I will keep you and Tank in mind.  We take Lucy tomorrow for her surgery.

Lucy's front right leg was amputated 12/19/11. Thankfully there was no tumor, but her nerves were found to be degenerative.  Life as a tripawd is Lucy's new adventure!!

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