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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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Viciously attacked by her sisters ...
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Member Since:
2 May 2018
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2 May 2018 - 5:13 pm
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Day 2 as a Tripawd mama, and there was absolutely no prepping our hearts, minds, or eyes for something like this - especially considering the cause and the trauma that she suffered leading up to her amputation. We came home this past Sunday after being gone for 9 hours to let the girls back inside with us. But when I noticed my "big"  -Nola - was not welcoming us and called for her, I see her struggling to walk towards me on 3 legs. She was in excruciating pain as I noticed a massive chunk missing from her upper left leg and covered in blood and mud. Our assumption was that she had gotten it caught in something. It wasn't until I went to pick her up to take her into the ER that I noticed the extent of damage that was done to her entire body. And it was then that my fiance and I came to the sickening conclusion that it was the two younger girls who clearly attacked her. Thankfully no organs were damaged and that she survived, but physically she was in a severely traumatic state. Aside from the many intense lacerations and puncture wounds she endured, the missing chunk of her leg was the most concerning. Originally, it was all of our hopes that during surgery they could clean the wound enough in order to possibly recover any nerve damage. After 4 hours of surgery of shaving, cleaning, stitching, tubing, etc... and two surgeons opinions: the leg was not savable. She suffered too much muscle/tissue loss and nerve damage, and keeping it and trusting that it could heal was not a hopeful thought. 

Due to the trauma she suffered and the fact that she just went under anesthesia we had to wait until she was stronger to put her under again in order to remove her leg. We had to pray our biggest prayers that the wound would not become too toxic for her body to handle. We had to pray that she would have the will and fight to get through all of this.. and we are still praying because the road ahead is not a pretty one. 

She successfully came out of surgery early last night! And I am truly thankful to all of the prayers that have kept her strength up. Selfishly it was one of the most difficult things I have personally ever experienced. To see my baby there with a missing limb. And then to have to look at her and see all of the multiple other traumas that were done to her body ... And then. To know that this was done by MY other babies. It just makes me sick. I am sure it is just as shocking and sad for anyone who has had to witness their baby go through an amputation; but then to add more trauma on top of it in addition to the cause being your other animals... it just feels so unbelievable. And to know there is nothing I would have done different - because I never in a million years would have considered THIS to be an outcome. But the fact that it happens more often than people know! I have now heard of at least 5 different similar incidents. So please make sure you consider kenneling your own fur babies separately while you are away.

So we have 1 baby in the ER waiting to be strong enough to come home. And then 2 others at home who have been semi-ignored because of the anger and hurt that we feel inside. And I KNOW that my heart has to soften because I understand they are animals. And something triggered them to fall into this horrible "pact-mentality"... And they now are not able to morally understand what they have done. But I do know that there is absolutely no way that I could ever allow them around Nola again. So what do we do? Today, my heart is most heavy in regards to them and their placements in our lives. The thought of euthanization just cannot be processed. So what is left is:

A. keep them and figure out proper separation, in addition to kenneling the two outside while we are away as to prevent another horrific event from happening 

or B. rehome them and know that due to the event, it will be difficult to find two separate loving, understanding, 1-dog homes.

If anyone reads this and can relate in any way or can offer any words of advice I would be happy to hear. We are at a stand still for now as the emotions are just running too high in order to come to a conclusion.

In the end, we look forward to welcoming Nola back in a safe and loved environment when she is strong enough to make the journey. I know she is going to rock being a tripawd. I understand the journey is a long and hard one - but man do I look forward to the day when she is fully healed and walking without a second thought. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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2 May 2018 - 10:28 pm
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Welcome, and thanks for tragic!

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Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Baltimore, MD
Member Since:
26 December 2017
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3 May 2018 - 2:13 pm
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I cannot imagine how traumatic it must be. I have only questions, and sympathy, I don't have any advice.  But I think your question of what to do now might become clearer once you bring Nola home and experience what life is like with keeping them separated all the time. You might find you get used to it, or you might find it's just too much trouble. I have no experience with pets turning on each other, so I can't comment on whether the dynamic could shift again over time or if it's just permanently bad now. I just feel so sorry for you all. How old is Nola, and how old are the others? Have they lived together very long? 

The next few weeks will be stressful just in caring for Nola let alone keeping them all separated. I wish you much strength and patience in getting through it so that you can consider and make the right decision for your family. Take care of yourself, too! 

Member Since:
21 May 2016
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6 May 2018 - 12:31 pm
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Oh sweetie, this is a really horrific story and a huge trauma for you and Nola ...

I honestly do not know what I would do if I were you ...

For now, concentrate on getting Nola better and make sure your other dogs cannot get to her. 

Take one day at a time and give yourself and Nola time to heal.

We are all here to help you along the way so do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Sending you a big hug and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

London, UK

Member Since:
15 December 2015
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6 May 2018 - 1:22 pm
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What a horrendous experience. My heart goes out to you!

I agree with the others. Right now you need to focus on Nola, preparing the environment for bringing her home, not just in terms of separating the dogs (all three from each other, I would suggest), but ensuring you have good traction etc., a safe, quiet space for her to recover, raised food and water bowls etc.

But I know, you will not be able to help agonising over the future, and how to deal with this situation. My advice, in the slightly longer term, would be to consult a certified animal behaviourist and ask for their help in establishing what is going on (in a professional and unemotional way) and what can be done about it. The other thing I would do, if you haven't already, is to get both the other dogs thoroughly checked over by a vet, in case there is some undiagnosed physical health problem, which might lie behind this sudden aggression.

You will get through this and things will get better for all of you, I promise. There is a solution. It may or may not involve rehoming one or both of the other dogs. We don't know at this stage. But you will find a way and it will be okay. For all of you.

Sending massive hugs all round. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. Keep posting. We are all here to support you.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 13, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 

Member Since:
1 October 2017
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15 May 2018 - 3:59 pm
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Hi there,

How are you and Nola doing? Just wanted to check in on you, hope all is going ok.

Jackie and Huckleberry heartheart


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Phoebe, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

Huckleberry's Blog

Member Since:
1 June 2018
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1 June 2018 - 1:47 pm
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Oh boy can I relate.  My pit bull was attacked by 2 of her pack mates last week and they damaged her front leg so badly that it has to be amputated on Monday.  The primary aggressor is a submissive dog most of the time.  This is the second fight in a month.  I have made the heartbreaking decision to relinquish the aggressor to rescue.  My pit won't survive another attack.  She was going into shock when I got her to the vet. 

I am concerned about how the rest of the pack will react to Sugar, my pit, when she comes home next week.

This website and these forums have been a lifesaver as I prepare for my dog's return home.

Good luck with making your decision about the other dogs.  It is so painful when other beloved dogs harm their packmate.  This has been a nightmare.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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1 June 2018 - 1:54 pm
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Hello Martha and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I'm so sorry you are going through this- I am glad you found us here.  Please consider starting your own fourm topic to introduce your girl and so we can follow her story.

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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