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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I just got the news that my 14 and half year old lab/beagle mix (Rascal) had a pathologic fracture left hind leg. My Vet splinted/casted the break while we waited to see if the fracture was pathologic. (fracture occurred on Friday and Radiologist didn’t respond until Mon.) He has really struggled with getting around on it, partly due to how big the cast is, and partly due to the other hind leg is pretty wobbly. He thinks he can go on walks and gets excited when I get out the leashes to take my other dogs for a walk, so his attitude is great. He is eating and doesn’t act like it’s the end as other pets I have had to have euthanized did… struggling with decision to amputate as we think he’s got a little hip dysplasia, and definitely arthritis in front legs. Not sure I want to put him through chemo, and doing the amputation without the chemo seems pointless. Has anyone heard or seen how dogs with hip dysplasia do with rear leg amputation?
25 April 2007
…doing the amputation without the chemo seems pointless.
Not at all. Our Jerry survived osteosarcoma for two years without IV chemo. Eisen, a senior GSD survived more than four with only homeopathic treatment. Search these forums and the blogs and you’ll find pleny of feedback regarding chemotherapy.
Every dog is different, and only you and your vets can determine if amputation is right for Rascal. But we have plenty of success stories here about senior dogs doing well on three legs, and dogs who have had other physical challenges which can usually be addressed with canine conditioning and rehab work.
Thank you for joining and best wishes for the decisions you face. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.
My Daisy’s lost her left front leg to arthritis 1-1/2 years ago at the age of 6-1/2. The elbow joint was destroyed. She has arthritis in her hips along with dysplasia and some arthritis in her spine. The arthritis does make the decision tough. We weren’t dealing with cancer but I still struggled with deciding on if she would be able to lead a quality of life missing a leg with her other issues. The vets thought she would be able to handle it. Daisy is not as agile as a lot of other tripawds due to the arthritis but she was that way pre-amp too. We are not able to take the walks like we used too which was about 3 miles/day. Now we just go to the dog park where she can be off leash and move around at her own pace taking lots of breaks or go in her DoggyRide stroller. Even with her limited mobility she still enjoys life.
Her arthritis pain is management with 50 mg Deramaxx daily for pain/inflammation and I also give her Dasuquin w/MSM which is a glucosamine/chronditin supplement.
I know Rascal’s situation is a little different since he would be losing a rear leg with the dysplasia and arthritis. Have you consulted with an orthopedic vet or a certified rehab vet to see what their thoughts on what his mobility post amp might be like?
As far as the chemo lots of dogs here have not done chemo and lived well beyond expectations. There are lots of alternative therapies to chemo if you decide to go that route. I’ll leave that to the others that have experience with that.
Best of luck in your decision.
Marla and Daisy
My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy
6 March 2013
Well, we are a front amp…but, Sampson is a 13-year-old large breed (akita x) with dysplasia and arthritis in his rear legs/back. He had this at the time of his diagnosis, and it was a concern, but a lesser of evils.
Given Sam’s age, and some other factors, we did NOT elect chemo. I don’t think it was a pointless endeavour–and neither did our vet. We have instead devoted our resources (time and money) to PT and acupuncture to maintain/improve quality of life.
We will be at five months this week, and no matter what happens tomorrow, it has been a happy five months we would not have otherwise had, and we celebrate every minute of it.
"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Jillybean and Rascal,
This is not an easy decisin reagardless of the circumstances. Then add Rascal’s “challenges” into the mix and that even makes it more stressful!
One thing you said is an importat part of the equtin, _His attitude is great!” And that is a huge plus for whatever decisio you make.
There are no wrong decisions here. Any decision made out of love is the right one!
You’ve gotten good feedback from Sam and Daisy.
It is major surgery! Recovery is no “walk in the park” I agree with Daisy, see what the orthopedic says He’ll be able to determine if he’s having trouble walking because of the cast or other reasons.
Chemo is by no means a guarantee of anything Many of us have opted for it…many not. Most don’t have any bad side effects though Some dogs get “extended” time on checmo….some don’t Some, like Sam a d MANY others get extended time without chemo…..some don’t. There are many, many worthwhile options that do NOT i cluded chemo.
‘sorry, computer keybd, disappeari g….will post later
se ding yoh love and support
saly snd Hapoy Hannah
Again, thanks to all of you wonderful folks that post on this site. I have been reading so many stories that give me hope. Rascal’s x-rays and blood work were normal. Surgery will probably be July 30. I am praying he can make the transition to 3 legs as well as he learned to hobble on that cast. We are not going to do chemo. Looking into holistic and homeopathic treatments.
Light and Love to you all!
Jill and Rascal
Okaaaay! You have a plan and now you can move forward! That’s wonderful! Rascal will do fine….and so will YOU! You are a strong loving pawparent with a wonderful attitude!
We are here!! We’re not going anywhere! Now, go have some delightful times with your Rascal! And remember….he doesn’t care about any stupid diagnosis….or ole’ dumb surgery “date”…he’s just loving living in tne moment living like a dog!! A lessn for all of us! Maybe you can spend this tme learnng ow to post ictures (I haven’t but maybe you can……. I’m still trying to earn to type!). We would love t see ohotos! And take lots and lots!
Surrou ding YOU with love and the wnderful light:-)
Sally and Happy Hannah
Rascal made it through surgery. He is heavily sedated and on fluids. He gets laser treatments tomorrow. I will get to visit him then. Keeping positive thoughts and fighting back tears. He will come home either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Thanks for all of your support!
So glad to hear that Rascal’s surgery went well. Don’t worry if the vet keeps him longer. They can keep him on the good pain meds while he is there and he will already be a couple days ahead in recovery when he gets home. Once he gets home he will do great but be prepared for some ups and downs. Most dogs will crash sometime during the recovery period so try not to get discouraged (sometimes easier said than done LOL). They can be restless and whiny which is usually just the meds. Daisy panted alot and was restless the first few days.
If you have a lot of hard surface floors you might think about getting some carpet runners or throw rugs for him to use to navigate slick floors. 3-leggers slip easily.
Go ahead and get your crying out — I bawled pretty much non-stop before the amp, during the surgery and after she was out and everything was ok, and then bawled some more! Once Rascal gets home he will need you to be strong.
Good luck with the recovery and keep us posted on how it is going.
Marla and Daisy
My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy
YAAAAAAAAAYY RASCAL” Surgery is over! Done! Kaput!
And , heck yeah, like Marla said, cry your eyes out! We all have……..for me, it was more like gut wrenching sobs! For a long time!
Rascal will jave a couple of weeks recovering and adjusting. He’s already somewhat used to walkingon three legs anyway, so that’s a plus.
When you go see Rascal tomorrow, he will probably be very drugged and not feeli g particularly chipper. I know he’ll be so glad to see you though. That will be great therapy for him! ZRemember, he doesn’t know..or care…aout any “surgery site” or missing leg! So just look into his eyes to orrow…not the “site” and just praise him and tell him what a good boy he is”
Get some good rest! You will probaly have a few sleepless nights ahead of you!
Remember, we’re here for you, especially by your side during the recovery process.
Sending you so e shee to count! Nighty night:-)
Sally and Happy Hannah
Thanks again for the support. I cannot wait to see him. I kept waking last night, wondering how he was doing. He is such a people person dog. I will be sure to look into his eyes. My vet told me to be prepared when I see him. He (my vet) had his own dog go through this surgery a couple of years ago. He said it was a shock to see the first time; in spite of the fact he has done the surgery hundreds of times on other dogs over the years (he of course did not perform surgery on his own dog). Getting my crying out of the way now!
Peace and Love
A late welcome, and glad to hear Rascal made it though surgery.
If you are worried about how you will react when you see him maybe looking at some pictures would help. Here in the Gallery there are photos, scroll down to the Surgery and Treatment pics. It is startling at first, but you get used to it and after awhile it is just normal!
Let us know how he is doing.
Got to visit my boy yesterday and today, and he comes home tomorrow. He is doing the panting/crying thing and still hasn’t eaten. He was able to get up on his own (according to the Vet Tech) the first day without assistance, but they are using a sling when they take him out to pee. He tries to get up each time they open his kennel to check on him. He does settle down while I am there petting him. He actually fell asleep and snored yesterday while I was there. He hasn’t licked his incision too much, so they haven’t put the cone on him…but he was trying to reach it while I was there today, so chances are he’ll have it on tonite. I have looked in all the pet stores here for “Comfy Cones” and no one seems to have them. I hate the big plastic ones.
I am amazed at how some of the people posting here have taken their pets home the day of surgery. I am glad I did not have to do that, but I am anxious to get him home.
Hoping Rascal will relax more when he is home.
Love and Light