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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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6 February 2012 - 5:04 pm
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GiGi is our 9 yr female Doberman. She was diagnosed with OS about 2 weeks ago. It is in her left front leg. XRays and blood test found no sign of it elsewhere. I know that is not conclusive.

At first amputation was out of the question. After visiting 2 vets, an Oncologist and reading this forumn, we have chosen amputation. I think our hesitation was a "people" thing.

She goes in tomorrow for the surgery. I know she will do well.

We have ordered slings,harness, books, etc... So I hope we are ready.

I'll keep you informed.

New Zealand
Member Since:
6 November 2011
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6 February 2012 - 5:35 pm
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Good luck - I'm sure it will all go well. Sounds like you are well prepared.

Sarah and Kayla

6 February 2012 - 5:42 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds,

Your future posts will not require moderation.

I'm sorry you and GiGi are facing OSA, but it sounds like you are as ready as you can get.

And yes, the amputation is much harder for us two leggers to come to grips with, our pups just get on with things.

Be sure you have lots of stuff to keep you busy tomorrow- surgery day can be long. Read your new book, prep the house, lay in groceries- what ever keeps you busy.  Since you've been reading the forums you know that the first couple weeks after surgery can be rough- enough to make you doubt your decision, so don't get discouraged!

Ask whatever questions you have- lots of experience here to share.

Let us know how she (and you) are doing tomorrow.


Karen and the pugapalooza

Rock Hill, SC
Member Since:
28 November 2011
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6 February 2012 - 5:44 pm
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Good luck!!  And, get some sleep while you can!


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...

Plainfield, Illinois
Member Since:
14 May 2011
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6 February 2012 - 6:30 pm
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Welcome to the best community on the planet!  Get some rest for the next couple days because the first 2 weeks are definitely the toughest, but you will be surprised with how resilient your pup will be. 


Jenna & spirit Chili Dawg

Diagnosed with OSA: 5/2/2011 Ampuversary: 5/11/2011 OSA returned in hip: 8/26/2011
Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8/30/2011 & is now pain free. He was my heart dog, and I miss him every day.

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
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6 February 2012 - 6:32 pm
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Welcome to you and Gigi. Yep, it's definitely us humans who have a harder time dealing with all this than the pups do.

Usually there is about a 2 week recovery period. Once the pups are off the meds and have their stitches out, they are usually back to their old selves. And sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, so if she seems great right after coming home and then crashes a few days in, that's perfectly normal.

Let us know how it goes!
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!

Orange County, CA
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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6 February 2012 - 6:43 pm
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Sending positive thoughts your way.  Please update on GiGi's progress as you can.  And keep in mind that when she does get home, she may be a little loopy from all the medicines she's on.  We'll be thinking about you guys tomorrow!

Member Since:
1 February 2011
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6 February 2012 - 6:43 pm
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I'm sorry that you have found yourself here, but you won't be sorry that you did. Amputation is a terrifying prospect for us people. And when you are also facing the specter of cancer, it becomes scarier still. I'm sure GiGi will do fine through her surgery, and hope that you will keep us posted on her progress. If you have questions, you will find a wealth of information from people who've gone through what you are now facing, so don't hesitate to ask.

We'd love to see pictures of your girl, if you have a chance to post them.

Rio's momma, Micki

the Woo

~ ~ Rio ~ ~
Forever in my heart...

April 2000 – January 20, 2012
Diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer in June 2007. Left rear leg amputated Feb. 8, 2011.
Mets discovered Aug. 31, 2011. Read more of Rio's story here.

knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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6 February 2012 - 7:21 pm
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welcome.  we're sending our best ET juju to you and GiGi for tomorrow's surgery.  sounds like you've done your homework and are as prepared as a human can be to face the future.  let us know how it goes, and know that we're all here for you if you need anything.


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


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 February 2012 - 7:46 pm
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Hi Ront & GiGi, welcome.

You're right, the hesitation to proceed with amputation is usually a people thing. When GiGi bounces back, you'll wonder how you ever doubted that she would do great. It's such a gift to have extra pain-free, quality time with our packmates!

Good luck tomorrow, please let us know how we can help OK? Keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 February 2012 - 7:48 pm
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ront said:

I think our hesitation was a "people" thing.

You're not alone here, most dogs cope much better than their people do.

Many of us have found the book Without Regret helpful in dealing with the decision to amputate. We did!

We'll be thinking of GiGi this week. Best wishes for a perfect procedure and speedy recovery.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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6 February 2012 - 8:22 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds!  I'm sorry you and Gigi find yourself here with us.  It's scary, scary stuff but once you get through the amputation, it will soon be better.  The pain will be gone and you'll have Gigi back to her old self!

As everyone has mentioned, we are here to help so feel free to ask questions if you need to.  There will be some ups and downs during the recovery but usually the meds cause a lot of the problems because they goof them out.

Please let us know when she is out of surgery and all is well!

Good wishes coming your way!

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.

Member Since:
18 January 2012
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6 February 2012 - 8:39 pm
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Best of luck to you and Gigi.  When we were making the decision about Baby, we found vets to be a bit discouraging.  I think they have seen some bad results that understandably affect their attitude.  They spout statistics, but they don't talk about all the dogs who have success stories!  There are so many wonderful stories of happy, healthy dogs after amputation we decided to give it a shot.  It's been 9 days since surgery and we are so glad we had it done.  Baby's recovering well and I feel good about giving her this chance.  I hope you have a smooth recovery and many happy years together!  Hint - we put out a call for blankets, towels and sheets from friends and family and loaded up on puppy training pads.   Recovery is a bit messy due to drainage sometimes, so it helps.  (We found the 'Three legs and a Spare' book we downloaded from Tripawds to be very helpful. We knew better what things would look like and what to expect.)

Rest when you can -

Best wishes,

Judy and Baby 

Sebastopol, CA
Member Since:
11 June 2011
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6 February 2012 - 8:43 pm
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Hi GiGi and family. So sorry you have to go through this but you have found a wonderful community to support you all!

Our 'kids are amazing at (literally) bouncing back once they are over their initial healing period.

Sending big hugs and lots of positive thoughts for tomorrow

Joanne & Lylee

6 February 2012 - 8:55 pm
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Praying for Gigi's surgery to go perfectly so the healing can begin and she can start her life as a new Tripawd! I also have a 9 year old female Doberman! Her name is Emalee. She does not have cancer and is not a Tripawd. I became a member of this site because my Great Dane Valentina had OS in her front left leg and became a Tripawd. I was hesitant at first too but it was the right decision. If I had not chosen the amputation I would have lost the extra 7 months that I had with her. She had gotten so bad that it was either amputation or putting her to sleep. The 7 months that we had were just wonderful and I would still make that same decision. There will be some struggles at first but this site will be there to help you as you go through it. It was lifesaving to me. I would have gone insane without this site. Everyone here is so wonderful and you will feel the love the more you are on here. Best of luck to you and Gigi! She will surprise you and delight you. All of us here love updates so please let us know how things go tomorrow!

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