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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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Topsy has joined the Tripawds and is currently unimpressed with her stump situation
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
12 June 2020
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20 June 2020 - 4:32 am
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Topsy is my 9yr old boxer mix, she's beautiful and has had next to no health issues. Well, in february I finished my volleyball final to find I had lots of missed calls. The neighbour had found my dog (who can jump over a 2m gate apparently), standing out on the road that evening with a presumably broken leg. After xrays we found out her right back femur was very, very broken. Luckily it was a mostly clean fracture with some butterfly cracks up the bone. 

She then had a plate put on the bone and we all hoped it would heal. Then one day I get another call and she's limping again. A few weeks later we finally get a vet to xray it and she's bent the plate and there is now a screw in the fracture site and it doesn't seem to be healing. She goes on more anti inflammatory meds. Two weeks later she stepped wrong on the wood floor and slipped and re-fractured the bone, assumingly having now broken the plate.  

After a lot of vet, specialist and Orthopedic surgeon's opinions I decided to amputate. If we replated and pinned the bone and it broke again she would have to have it amputated anyways. And honestly I just want a happy dog. She couldnt go on walks, she couldnt play with the other dog, she couldnt get on and off couches or anything and she couldn't run. She's usually extremely energetic, loves to play with the other dog and do sprints all around the yard and jump over anything that happens to be out. 

It was a hard decision, but I honestly think she'll be happier when this is done. She'll be able to play again and go on walks and go to the indoor doggy pools (with a stylish life vest now). This has all been extremely stressful for me, as this operation was the day after my final exam for university semester and I hope to find community with the other lovely people on this site 🙂 

She was whining alot today since I picked her up, but she's currently sleeping and I can hear her cute little snoring. I can't wait for her to be able to play again. 

Sorry for the long read! Just wanted to share mine and Topsy's story. sp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 31088
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20 June 2020 - 10:42 am
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Hi to you and Topsy, welcome! You have such a great attitude about her amputation, I want to applaud you for that! smiley_clap

So the leg break wasn't due to cancer or anything? "Just" a break? Well that is GREAT! At nine years young if she can jump a fence like that, she's got the spirit and strength it takes to make a total recovery. I'm amazed and inspired by you, Topsy 🙂

At least you are out of school now and can be with her during recovery, so if it had to happen the timing is good. What kind of pain management did she come home with? You want to make sure she has good pain control because even the strongest dog will have a ruff recovery if the right pain meds and dosages aren't given.

When you get a chance share some photos of her, we would love to met her and smooch her on our screens! Here's a post about adding images to the Forums, let me know if you would like help.

Get well soon Topsy, you've got a lotta good times ahead! sp_hearticon2

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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20 June 2020 - 7:55 pm
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WOW!  What a  ordeal you and Topsy have been through!!

You have made the right decision  for Topsy!!  We do see this type of thing here where  surgeries  with plates and screws have failed for one reason or amother.  Of course everyone  wants to avoid amputation if possible.   It's just in cases like this, it's time for Topsy to get to be Topsy again!!  You're  dealing with ONE surgery, ONE recovery, and then Topsy's sparkle will come back bigger and brighter than you could imagine!!

Did she spend last night at the clinic, or when she came home today, was it same day as surgery?

Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks.  As Jerry said, pain management is very important.  Most dogs come home with Gababentin,  Tramadol, and anti inflammatory like Rimadyl and an antibiotic.   This is MAJOR surgery, all while adapting g to three.  I actually think she'll ,manage the mobility  fairly easily now that the bum leg is gone.

Drinking and peeing are important.  She may not poop for a few days and may not feel like eating much.  It's all about taking it easy right now.  Just short, leashed potty breaks and then back in for more rest.

If you have hardwood floors, you'll want non slip scatter rugs for traction .  No stairs or jumping for now.

Stay connected and let is know as a y questions  arise.  We are here for you.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!


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!

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21 June 2020 - 10:03 am
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It was thankfully "just" a break, the xrays were sent to specialists to be checked for bone cancer or tumours but it was all good news on that front. She's on antibiotics, her last surgery she was given Tramadol for is she was in pain and restless at night. However after her amputation she has been given a fentanyl patch (to be taken off three days after surgery, so tomorrow currently), as well as codiene tablets multiple times a day and another pain killer twice a day. Pretty sure she's seeing the universe with all these medications. 

She spent the night after her surgery at the vets and they loved her apparently. 

She's actually been incredibly good with her bathroom habits. She peed and pooed when we first got home. Today is day two and she peed in the morning and she pooed in the afternoon! I was very proud! 

I've got carpet in my room (where she spends most of her time at the moment), and I lift her onto my bed and off again and we occasionally hang out on the couch where she's also lifted too. 

The crying has not been fun for me or her and I've definitely shed a few tears. But it's very inspiring to read all the posts and advice here. 

Livermore, CA

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21 June 2020 - 1:50 pm
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Hello and welcome to you and Topsy.

I'm sorry about the accident and trials you have been though since.  I know it's a hard decision to choose amputation but it sounds like its the best decision for Topsy.

You've been through a lot with her and you have an advantage in some respects because you have seen how she does after a major surgery and how she does on pain meds.  And the recovery period for amputation is much shorter than for a repaired broken leg- most pups get their sparkle back in 2 or 3 weeks.  Sometimes the older pups take a bit longer but it sounds like Topsy is quite young at heart!

The whining can be a sign of pain so be sure you are talking to your vet about how she is doing. Pain meds often need tweaking in dose or dosing schedule, and sometimes different meds are needed.   Unfortunately whining can also be a side effect from the pain meds- this is hopefully where your experience with past surgeries will help you.

My current Tripawd is a little Pug mix who lost her right rear leg after being hit by a car at 7 months old.  Elly is now about 5.5 years old and can do pretty much anything a dog her size and age can. We do lots of food puzzles and games and do trick and obedience training- all good low impact activities that burn some energy and challenge the mind. I have stairs or stool near all the furniture she is allowed on and I do moderate her activity a little since she will be on three her whole life but for the most part she gets to be just a dog!!!

Hang in there- you are in the worst of the recovery period, she will get better.

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

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