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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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We're New....Pam & Shelby
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26 June 2010 - 6:35 am
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I'm Pam, Shelby's foster mom, and we send you greetings from miserably hot & humid Orlando.  Shelby is a beautiful, active 6 year old golden retriever who has twice had a large soft tissue sarcoma debulked on her right knee.  She came to me as a *hospice foster* but it looks like we may actually get to shelve that adjective.  Thanks to clear chest radiographs and FNA of lymph nodes showing no evidence of metastasis, Shelby goes to Tampa on Tuesday for a consult with a specialist.  If all goes as we hope, she will get rid of that awful painful leg on Wednesday and become a Tripawd....and a dog who has, I pray, finally beaten cancer.

Still perusing all the *required reading* but do have a couple of questions.  I have two of my own goldens and a lab.  Would it be wise to perhaps have them stay with a friend (who they love!) for a few days when Shelby initially comes home so that I can be used to the routine and be able to focus all my attention on her.

Also, what pain meds are typically prescribed for Tripawds post-operatively.

Thanks in advance........and we're glad we found you.

26 June 2010 - 6:36 am
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Yikes.....I meant to say her STS was on her ELBOW....she will be a front TriPawd.....yikes, I need more java.

Member Since:
5 April 2009
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26 June 2010 - 11:53 am
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Welcome to a club we don't want to belong to.

You will meet a ton of wonderful people with great insight and knowledge to help you on your journey.

Sending pawsitive thoughts your way for Tuesday!

Shelby, the P.P.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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26 June 2010 - 12:32 pm
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Welcome to the CCC (canine cancer club)!  We really haven't been soliciting new members, but welcome the ones who find us with open arms!  Ok, there is no club, I've been around Comet too long, and just couldn't help myself.

Trouble was sent home with tramadol, rimadyl, and an antibiotic after surgery.  She was taken off the Fentyl (sp) patch the morning we picked her up.  The 2 week recovery is not fun - there are major adjustments for you and for her, but you'll get through it and be happy at last. Trouble is not an overly active dog, so we allowed her to do anything she felt like trying.  You will need a way to help her get around the first couple of days - we used a towel mostly, but I did take a mans long sleeve shirt using the body as belly support and the arms to lift with. it worked pretty well for short periods.  Prepare your floors if you have tile or hardwood, they are unsteady on surfaces they can't get traction on.  Trouble didn't have a bandage, so I put a toddlers tee shirt on her to keep the incision site clean.  She wanted to go out and lay on the inciion in the grass.

We didn't have a second dog when she came home, but others here will take on that questions for you.

Again, welcome!  You've come to a very accepting and supportive group of folks who have all been there before you.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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26 June 2010 - 1:06 pm
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Welcome, Pam.  I can respond to the multiple-dogs issue as I have 4 total.  Cemil is the leader and upon arriving home, he warned the others to be careful around him.  They understood and were careful.  Checked him out thoroughly, but respectfully.  I didn't have a way to keep them all apart but it turned out to be a non-issue.  They actually remained careful longer than they had to and he had to let them know he was ready to play, when he was.  I've heard similar stories from other multiple-dog households.  I would at least give them a chance to be together and keep everything normal.  If it doesn't work, then you could send the others away.  But dogs communicate among themselves and the others should get it and behave appropriately. 

As for diverting your attention from Shelby and her needs, that might be a good thing.  You'll need a break.  Take it while she's sleeping (which could be about 20 hrs per day in the beginning).

Pain meds....Cemil had fentanyl patches and tramadol.  He was much better after he got off them, which I think was after about 10 days.  Seems like it was about the time the staples came out.  His progress was pretty slow before that.  He spent an awful lot of time asleep.

I hope the surgery goes well.  Keep us posted.

Mary and Cemil

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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26 June 2010 - 1:31 pm
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Welcome Shelby#2 and Pam (Foster mom)!


If you'd like to register with tripawds, your posts will show up automatically and we can all see them. Currently they have to be approved.  That would also require logging into your account after you sign up.

I have a lot of admiration for foster moms!  I wish I could. 

It really sounds like this is fantastic news for Shelby!  The next two weeks are going to be ruff  but it will get better!  Your Shelby will go through some major healing and it can be trying at times.  I agree with cemil, try the dogs together and if it doesn't work out, then send them to the friends.  Shelby may heal better if her surroundings are normal.  You don't want her to worry the other dogs are gone out of her life!  It's just like having your whole family around when you are in the hospital!  You feel more loved!

We are here to help you!  So, don't feel alone in this journey.  The recovery is daunting but after that it will be smooth sailing – er… I mean, hopping!

Don't listen to hugapittbull!  Comet is secretely recuiting new members!  

Membership fee...1 leg. big-grin


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:
7 June 2010
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26 June 2010 - 5:49 pm
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Regarding the pain medication, Charlie was on Tramadol and Rymadyl prior to the surgery, but I didn't like the effects Tramadol had on him, nor did it seem to be working very well (stupid cancer was so damn painful!). The oncologist switched him to codeine about 3 days before the surgery and we continued to use that when they took him off the IV drugs. He did much better on that. After the surgery it was the codeine and Rymadyl. I weaned him off the codeine about a week after the surgery.

Best wishes to a speedy recovery!


VQ & Charlie

"I don't know where I am."

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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26 June 2010 - 10:55 pm
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Hi Pam, welcome. We're glad you found us! Sorry you needed to look though, we wish no dawgs ever had to go through amputation. As you can see we've got quite the pawesome community who have already given such great advice.

I was an only-dawg so I can't help you with that, but I do agree with Cemil's advice. I also think that the calmer and quieter you can keep Shelby, the faster he will recuperate. Too much activity right after surgery can cause swelling and this nasty fluid build-up called a seroma . Better play it safe I think.

As for pain meds, I was on Tramadol and Metcam. Tramadol for about 10 days, Metcam indefinitely afterward. Tramadol makes us see pink elephants. It's not something we enjoy, and Shelby may or may not have a hard time on it. We can never tell ahead of time who will just get dopey with versus who will go bonkers. You'll figure it out after less than a day. Whatever pain meds you get, be sure to obtrain complete instructions from your vet on dosages, side effects and what kind of odd behavior to look out for.

We're here to help any way we can. Good luck next week, we're cheering you both on!


Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
1 January 2010
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27 June 2010 - 9:17 am
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Hi Pam and Shelby,

Welcome to the place no one really wants to be - we're sorry to hear about Shelby, but we're glad you found us!  This site has provided amazing support for us as we've traveled this road with Holly, and we're sure you'll find the same.  Holly was on an antibiotic (I can't remember which one), Deramaxx and Tramadol after her surgery.  She didn't have much of a reaction to the meds in terms of odd behavior, but she did become nauseous.  (if you read about Holly, you'll see that's a common theme for her - she tends to have a sensitive tummy when it comes to meds).  

What Cemil says about other dogs makes sense - she'll be comforted knowing the rest of her pack is nearby.  Making things seem as normal for her as possible may help.  

We'll be keeping her in our heart this week.

Holly, Zuzu and Susan 

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

27 June 2010 - 4:56 pm
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Welcome to the club no one wants to belong to.  But you've come to the right place.  Whatever pain meds Shelby comes home with, just watch her behavior.  Ruthie did well on Metacam, better than the Rimadyl.  Not having experience with multiple dogs after surgery, the advice Cemil gives makes sense to me.  I think keeping things as normal as possible is good for morale.  And they are all going to have to learn about her amputation some time.

My prayers for successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Pat & Spirit Ruthie

Minneapolis, MN
Member Since:
23 May 2010
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27 June 2010 - 10:35 pm
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Hello, and welcome! I've thought about being a foster pawrent but don't know that I could ever give up a dog that I had shared a home with, so I'm probably not a good candidate! For now, all my time and attention goes to Daisy.

Daisy was on Previcox for pain for a couple months preceding surgery. When I brought her home, I was told to keep her on that along with Tramadol if needed (plus an antibiotic). I used only the Previcox, and beginning with the third day I actually forgot to give it to her. When I realized it, I observed her closely, and she didn't seem to need it. Her speedy recovery for a 12-yr-old lab was pretty amazing; but then, I had people praying her whole and pain-free and sending her healing energy, and I believe that had a lot to do with the ease with which she recovered. (Complete story at

Keep us posted!big-blink

Daisy, 12 years young, had left forelimb amp on 5/19/2010 due to osteosarcoma. She left her body behind and joined the other spirit tripawds on 7/16/2010.
So grateful for each day with her!
Lexi (Daisy's momma)

Kirkland, WA
Member Since:
2 June 2009
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27 June 2010 - 10:41 pm
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Hello!  We got Jack a brother because we thought he was depressed...turns out it was just cancer that was the problem!  When we took Jack home, Colby wanted to sniff and play, but we would just separate the two of them, maybe snuggle with Colby on the bed while Jack lounged in his doggie bed on the floor (we got him a brand new ultra-plush bed just for recovery!), and finally Colby got the hint and only layed next to Jack and stopped trying to thwap him with his paws.  Jack was sent home with rimadyl and tramadol, and after a bout of phantom pain on day 3, he also got gabapentin.  Good luck with the upcoming surgery, and we are an experienced bunch with many answers to lots of questions.  Nice to meet you!


<3 Laura and Captain Jack

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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28 June 2010 - 6:08 am
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Hi Pam -

As had been said, welcome to Tripawds - sorry you have to come but we're all here to help ya' get thru this.  It was 2 weeks of hell for my dog's post amputation but we got thru it and here we are today, she out of pain and living a fairly normal life.  Much less active and lacks stamina but she's still very happy and can play with me still!

My dog was on the fetanyl patch, gabapentin, tramadol and deramaxx, along with antibiotics.  The patch came off a few days after surgery.  She went off her food 5 days after surgery with a low grade fever.  That took 2 wks to clear out.  Eventually, we weeded her off all meds wondering if that was what was causing her not eating issue.  Also, we switched antibiotics as well.

I had to hand feed her various foods to get food into her but she drank steadily and alot - I suspect trying herself to get her fever down.  I treated her with homeopathic Belladonna for the fever and it finally broke with that.

My dog also has(had?) STS - of which type it was never figured out...some were ruled out but pathologist's couldn't figure out exactly what type..only that it was highly aggressive.

Good luck with your dog's surgery and recovery.  You'll be darn happy you found Tripawds!  I know I am wink

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


28 June 2010 - 1:33 pm
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Wow....what a fantastic welcome and awesome group of new friends you are!

I *think* I'm registered....well, I thought I was.  I'll put it that way.  But Miss Pammie is not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to navigating around message boards so hopefully I am officially registered now!

As far as fostering goes......well, let's just say that the other 3 dogs in the house are all foster failures.  My track record isn't the greatest but I've actually been able to let some fantastic golden retrievers go on to their new homes.  My two most recent prior to Shelby were just about as perfect as they come......and it was tough.  But had I not let them go, there wouldn't have been room for Shelby so it all works out in the end.

(Of course, when she is healed and officially goes up for adoption....check back with me then!)

Shelby has been on Tramadol for the past two months....we started out at 50 mg BID and then upped it to 50 mg TID.  Periodically she's also had Previcox.  Thankfully neither have made her see those darned pink elephants so it seems she has a pretty good tolerance for them.

Two quick questions:

1.  It seems the first two weeks are the what respect particularly? Pain? Discomfort?

2.  How do I put Shelby's pic as my Avatar?

Again, thanks for guys are the best.


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 June 2010 - 2:37 pm
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shelbysmom said:

...hopefully I am officially registered now!

... It seems the first two weeks are the what respect particularly? Pain? Discomfort?

...  How do I put Shelby's pic as my Avatar?


Yup, shelbysmom registerred on June 17 with an AOL email address, we presume that's you.

Every dog is different. Some experience pain, others can't handle the meds, while others won't eat and some don't go potty for days. The good news is, some have no trouble whatsoever.

Click the profile button above to access your forum profile. There you will find a link to your Tripawds dashboard where you can upload an avatar image. Make sure the is at least 128x128, but it is not a huge file or upload may fail. JPEG files work best, jpeg, gif, and png formats are allowed. Looks like you tried but the file was either the wrong format, too small, or too large... hence the black avatar. we'll go reset the default for you now.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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