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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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Amputation on a 105 lb labrador?
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
20 November 2015
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20 November 2015 - 2:34 pm
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And to my dismay osteosarc has brought me to this forum.

My ~10 year old labrador Moncho had been limping sporadically on his front left leg, so I took him to the vet expecting arthritis, a broken bone … So now we are weighing the options for my big guy. He’s around 105 lbs — probably 15-20 lbs overweight 🙁  — and NOT an active dog. I would love to get some input on anyone who has dealt with this (‘this’ being a hefty, lazy pup + osteosarcoma amputation), and any suggestions for coping, easing his discomfort, etc.

Thank you! 

The Rainbow Bridge

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20 November 2015 - 3:23 pm
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Hi Moncho and Mom, welcome. I’m really sorry to hear you found us because of osteo, it’s a tough one to wrap your head around that’s for sure. Glad that you were proactive and took him in right away, that’s fantastic!

Big dogs can do great as Tripawds but as you’ve already guessed, weight is an issue. In Moncho’s case he has a HUGE advantage, he can drop those pounds, whereas bigger breeds can’t really. So as long as you know that he’s overweight and you can commit to helping him drop those pounds there’s no reason why he can’t do well. What did your vet say about him living life on 3? Have you met with an oncologist yet?

Have you seen our Tripawds e-books library and Jerry’s Required Reading List ? Do check them out for lots of our best tips and insights.

Others will chime in soon so stay tuned. And your posts won’t need approval so post away.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1454
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20 November 2015 - 4:35 pm
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So sorry for your diagnosis!  It’s tough very tough to find out your dog has cancer.  I would definitely check with your vet to find out if he thinks Moncho would be a good candidate for amp surgery.  If his hips and joints are in good condition I see no reason why you can’t proceed.  We proceeded under less than stellar conditions with our six year old 110# German shepherd Max.  His hips were good but he had at some time in the past gotten an injury in his ankle and had some arthritis there.  Even with that they recommended to move ahead.  We are now 10 weeks post surgery.  Some days he’s great and some days we help him get up if we see him struggling.  Once he’s up he’s fine.  We’re very careful of that remaining back leg.  He’s back to being Max and happy to be outside sniffing and patrolling as usual when he’s out there.  Sounds like your guy would do wonderfully as a tripawd but as Jerry said if he could drop some weight it would be better for him.  We did the surgery to get Max out of the pain of walking on that leg.  We have accomplished that and the rest of the time we get with Max is a bonus knowing that we gave our big guy the best chance he had for a full pain free life.  Moncho being less than active may even go in his favor by having saved wear and tear on all his limbs. Good luck and let us know if there’s anything we can help with.  Please keep us posted on Moncho he sounds like a snuggle bunny!

Linda & Max

Norene, TN
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23 November 2015 - 12:04 pm
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Glory be, a 105 Labrador!? I bet he’s magnificent! Our Harmony would be a chunky-munky if we let her get over 60, your furbaby must be built like a hoss!

Howdy and welcome!

Sorry you’re here, but this is just a great place to be and we’re so very happy you’ve joined. You’ll find a wealth of info to help you on all levels including emotional.

Lean on us, that’s what we’re here for.


PS – and pics!!! We’d love to see a picture of your sweet Moncho!

Harmony became a Tripawd on 10/21/14 (MCT). She left us way too soon on 11/1/14.

"We miss you so much; our love, our heart, our Harmony."

- Pam, Ron and Melody, Meesha, Doublestuff and Mariah Carey


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23 November 2015 - 11:30 pm
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MONCHO! I bet you are a wonderful pup to snuggle with on cold nights!

Remember that Moncho doesn’t give a rip about any ole’ diagnosis and could care less about days on a calendar. What he does care about is enjoying snuggling with you, getting tummy rubs and spoiling and loving! Nothing has changed in Moncho’s world.

My Happy Hannah was a “fluffy” (aka “chunky”) Bull Mastiff who jad a rear leg amp. due to that piece of crap disease. She walked out of the hospital the day after surgery and handled mobility on three legs with no problem. Recovery from the surgery was no picnic though. Some dogs have trouble walking right away but not a very rough recovery. Every dog is different. Every recovery is different.

My Happy Hannah wasn’t a “.marathon runner” before the surgery, so her lifestyle didn’t really change thst much. Jumping up and down off the sofa was her exercise for the day!

You are dealing with a lot right now. Take a deep breath, do your research, talk to your vets. As long as the surgeon/vet thinks Moncho is a good candidate, then amputation is the best way to remove the pain. In the meantime, has the vet given you any pain meds for Moncho? Tramadol will help keep him .ore comfortable until you decide the path you are taking. Check out the links Jerry gave you. They’re chock full of information.

Stay connected to us. You are not alone. As Linda said, we get rid of the pain throw the amputation. Everyday sfter that is a bonus day made for loving and spoiling!

Sending you love and hugs!

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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24 November 2015 - 4:17 am
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Hi Moncho & Family!

I’m sorry you find yourself here, but hopefully we can help! Like others have said, there is no reason why his weight alone should stop you from considering amputation if the vet think he’s a good candidate. But it will probably be tougher on him than on a more svelte lab. Amputation does take a toll on the body so even a few pounds would probably help a lot. 

We have the advantage that dogs get their calories from us, so getting some pounds off him isn’t impossible. I’d guess that this is something maybe the vet has nagged you about before but now you have real motivation, to make his post-amp life much easier. I’m sure the vet can give you some tips about how to best reduce his calories. Your only job would be to resist those big brown eyes saying “But I’m starr-vvving!”. 

Our Ellie was 90lbs post-amp. And I’ve seen dogs much heavier than her here (Hannah, a St. Bernard, a Neo Mastiff etc). Sure, the big guys and gals might take a bit longer to recover and are probably a bit slower post-amp than the little ones, but they still have a good quality of life as tripawds. 

Denise, Bill and Angel Ellie.

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Forum Posts: 3
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25 November 2015 - 5:44 pm
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Thank you all for the kind words and support! I just finished binge reading a bunch of the FAQs and articles. So helpful!

We met with an oncologist who said he is a good candidate for amputation and chemotherapy (and no lung mets!). I’ve scheduled it for Monday, November 30, and I’m already nervous. He’s been on a combo of Tramadol and Gabapentin in the meantime. Regarding the chemo, Moncho’s regular vet suggested metronomic chemotherapy as opposed to carboplatin because of ease of use and price. Thoughts? 

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27803
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25 November 2015 - 8:46 pm
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glad to hear you’re making progress! Try not to be nervous and enjoy this time together. Get your home ready too so you’ll both be more relaxed when he comes home.

We were told by our onco that metronomics is better than nothing if you opt out of IV chemo, but that it doesn’t have enough punch to compare to IV chemo. We didn’t do IV chemo but did to metronomics 17 months post diagnosis when we found out Jerry had mets. We believe it bought him much more quality time (almost 8 months).

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