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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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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
28 December 2018
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28 December 2018 - 2:23 pm
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Hello everyone! I’ve been reading the forums here since my dog, Lola, lost one of her front legs 5 years ago and they’ve been quite helpful in caring for her and keeping her health. Unfortunately, we’re starting to see the effects of amputation on her body, she’s no longer able to climb the stairs, she’s more reluctant to move about and spends a large majority of her time on her orthopedic pad. 

She’s still very alert mentally, her tail still wags when you come in the room and she still eats normally but you can tell she’s dealing with some pain in the way she moves about, more drawn in breathes and just general demeanor, particularly on poor weather days. 

I’m curious for those that have witnessed their dogs aging after limb amputations how you know when its time to say goodbye or if there are supplements that you’d recommend to ease her aching and improve day to day quality of life.  I definitely don’t want her struggle unnecessarily, but know without the pain she’d still be up and playing with the kids or taking longer hikes. 

Thanks for any help or recommendations! 


The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27258
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25 April 2007
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28 December 2018 - 3:26 pm
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Hi David, we are so glad you decided to post!  Sorry to hear about Lola’s mobility challenges, but do tell us more:

  • How old/young is she?
  • What is her breed type?
  • What kind of activity did she have on a daily basis before this started?
  • Has she been assessed by your veterinarian and a rehabilitation therapist for orthopedic issues like osteoarthritis?

As you are seeing, life on three legs takes a toll eventually but that is usually not a reason to assume it’s the end of the road. Odds are that your dog has lots of good times ahead. What you are describing sounds like the common pain indicators dogs give, but the good news is that can be helped!

Dogs are like people, they age, and as they do, their activity and living environment need modifying, but they can still be happy and have rich lives. There are many things you can do to help her feel better and get the pain under control. 

We highly recommend having all Tripawds see a rehabilitation therapist for an evaluation. This is so educational for us, and we learn things that our dog should and shouldn’t be doing. The best part is the Tripawds Foundation may even pay for your first rehab visit .

Check out these blog posts for more thoughts and insight about aging Tripawds, just to give you some perspective:

Arthritis and the Senior Tripawd Dog: Wyatt’s Story (so far)

How to Help Aging Tripawds Live Better

Manage Tripawd Arthritis with Supplements, Exercise and Pain Management

Feline and Canine Arthritis Management is in our Hands

#ItsMyHomeToo Asks How to Arthritis Proof Your Home?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 19144
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 December 2018 - 5:13 pm
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You have already gotten great insight, links and important  questions from our Jerry!

So I’m  gonna wait for your reps also.  Ye1s, there are definitely things that can be done if dealing with wear and tear, arthritis,  etc.


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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28 December 2018 - 7:30 pm
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Hi and welcome!

Will watch for your story, glad you decided to post! 

One thing for sure, we all share some common  things, but everypawdy has  situations that are different. That’s one of the things so helpful here! Many times as we go through this journey we end up meeting up with another that will have dealt with one thing or another that’s going on, and that brain storming helps yet another on their journey. 

The more you can share makes it more helpful for somebody to reach out and help. 

Wishing you much luck in the hopes that you can find a way to help Lola continue to have comfort and a good quality of life ❤️

Jackie and Huckleberry


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

Huckleberry's Blog

Forum Posts: 1447
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29 December 2018 - 10:47 am
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Murphy was 11 1/2 when we lost him and had lived the last 4+ years as a Tripawd.  We did a lot of massage with him which always helped with aches and pains.  And I kept some Relafen and Tramadol on hand in case he had days that he seemed like he needed some pain relief.  We also were giving him some Cosequin to help his joints.  We did finally start going to a rehab vet for chiropractic adjustments.  She did a thorough exam and recommended several exercises and stretches for us to do at home with Murphy to help increase his core strength.  We went to rehab for about 6 months or so, but I kind of wish we had started a bit sooner.  You know that the Tripawds Foundation will help with your first visit to a rehab vet, right?  It can’t hurt to have an evaluation to see if there are some exercises that might make Lola a little more comfortable.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  


The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27258
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29 December 2018 - 10:52 am
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Thanks for sharing Murphy’s amazing story Donna!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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