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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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13 yo and 5wks post op mobility struggles
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
16 September 2019
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16 September 2019 - 7:27 pm
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Hi all, chichi and I just joined the community and are hopeful for some experience and reassurance. Chichi is a boxer/pit bull mix I believe, and roughly 13 years old. She is currently 73 lbs and this is her heaviest. A little background: She broke her femur 4/1/19 had surgery 4/5/19 with a metal plate and screws. We had to replace screws 2 weeks post op because the came loose. Recovery was slow but she was back to stairs and walks on the river eventually. In July she was still struggling to get around and things just weren’t right. I had to leave her for a week  to move my fiancé (and her senior Pomeranian)crosscoutry for work. One of chichi’s fav people dog day for us which was familiar for chichi. Chichi didn’t know it but she was losing a caregiver and a 4 legged friend. I flew home 8/10 everything seemed as I left it. 8/12 I came home from work (first day alone ) and she wasn’t using that leg.  Turns out the break was not healing and there is a questionable spot on her bone. Osteosarcoma. We amputated the left rear leg on 8/16/19. I am now 5 weeks post op and to say it has been tough would be the understatement of the year. Chichi is still not wanting to walk and will not go more than 10 – 20 feet to do her business and go back inside. I’m using a sling to help her and she pretty much refuses to walk without it. I got the sling for the femur repair. Her personality is slowly returning but she (we) was hit with a lot of changes at once. I hoped and thought she’d be back to her old self and maybe even back to herself before the femur break but such was not the case. 🙁 I got a referral for a rehab specialist but any thoughts on what else I can do or similar experiences I’m all ears!! 

Livermore, CA

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16 September 2019 - 8:14 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I think you are absolutly on the right track going to a rehab specialist.  Since the original surgery in April is sounds like she has never really had a chance to recover and get strong.  And we have often seen here that the more ‘mature’ pups take a little longer to really start getting around and get that sparkle back.

Has she been checked by your vet to be sure that there isn’t a physical problem causing her not to want to walk?  Assuming she is OK physically here are a few thoughts:

Is she overweight?  It’s a good idea to keep a Tripawd as light as possible to reduce stress on the joints.  I know it’s hard when she isn’t mobile but something you can work on with diet and once you get into rehab that will help.

How is traction around your house?  Any slippery floors should be covered with throw rugs or yoga mats so she can have confidence getting around.

Is she on any meds?  While 5 weeks out most pups are off all pain meds the older pups again might need pain meds or anti-inflammatories to get around.  Does she have any arthritis?  If you think her struggles are due to pain or stiffness talk with your vet.

While you are waiting on the rehab visit you can start working her on some basic exercises.  Here is a blog post about Starter Exercises

And Here are Search Results for Exercise in our blogs.  You can browse through the titles and see if anything sounds useful.

I do lots of food games and puzzles with my little rear amp Tripawd Elly.  To her they are games with treats, to me it works on her strength and balance! 

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

Forum Posts: 2
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16 September 2019
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16 September 2019 - 8:24 pm
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Thank you so much for the feedback. So far we cannot find any physical problems. And she is not clinically overweight but she is 5ish lbs heavier than she typically is. she has definitely lost muscle mass since surgery #1. 

Traction was a big problem and potentially what caused the initial break. I’ve had to use the sling more than I wanted to because of the floors but have since added adhesive carpet tiles to my floors so traction is no longer an issue. 

She is taking rimadyl daily. That being said she was off of it for 2 weeks and since going back on has had a lot more personality. Those started exercises look great and I think will be good for both of us. I hate feeling so helpless. Fingers crossed for the rehab! Thanks again and will keep posting!


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16 September 2019 - 8:58 pm
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Sounds like you and Chichi have been through quite a few challenges recently, emotionally and physically.   I wish her dog buddy could come for a visit.  I bet that would help lift her spirits. I know that’s  off the table though.  

You got so e great jnput snd suggestions from Karen.  Yes, it does take a “mature” larger doggy a bit longer to recover from surgery.  And in Chichi’s case, shes jad a lot of surgery in a short period of time.

I’m  glad he’s back on Rimadyl and you could see some improvement  as a result.  So yes, do ask your Vet about adding some Gabapentin  back into his daily plan maybe twice daily. 

If Chichi didn’t  have good traction with the initial surgery and didn’t  get the nonslip rugs until later, his lack of confidence maybe interfering  with his mobility.

Really glad you are getting an appointment  with a Rehab Specialist.   Between that and a little bit more pain management , I think you will some noticeable improvement.

And some good news for you, the Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first Rehab appointment!

So glad you posted.  You have been through some rough spots and have done a stellar job of caring for Chich! Now you have a brand new family of tripawd members to support you!  We look forward to celebrating  all the victories Chichi will be experiencing.


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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