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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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Bella 9 yr old Saint Bernard
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11 September 2021
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14 September 2021 - 11:02 pm
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My sweet girl Bella was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a few weeks ago. We are very fortunate to have got into to the Flynt Animal Cancer Center with CSU within a week of reaching out. She also potentially will be the first dog to participate in a particular clinical study pending the official diagnosis post amputation.

In the beginning I was a bit hesitant about amputation as Bella has had hip issues in the past. We have her on some joint supplements and fish oil to help her out without many issues since.

We have had a couple long days there while they complete the required tests for the study. She met with a fantastic oncology team and I trust their opinion that she is a good candidate for surgery and seemingly will do well. I’ve talked to the surgeon and he said she scored high on the 3 other legs during his orthopedic exam. She does do a weird twisting motion sometimes with her back legs sometimes but it didn’t seem to hinder her in the physical tests. Bella is scheduled for amputation the day after tomorrow in her front left leg, then will begin the clinical study medicine along with chemo after.

I am having a really hard time with it. It seems so overwhelming and everything is happening quickly. I know it will be devastating to see her without her leg but also understand her pain will be much better. Bella is a bigger girl weighing 120lbs but is playful and resilient. We think she will do okay with everything but are so scared she will be mad at us or not want to go to the vet after. We hope physical therapy will help but want to consider a wheel chair later on if we need to.

Can anyone with a large breed older dog give some advice? I know this will be a good thing in the long run but struggling to find the strength to do it.

The Rainbow Bridge

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15 September 2021 - 10:18 am
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Hi Bella and family, welcome! Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

I’m sorry you are dealing with this disease, and anyone who’s been through it understands your hesitation. It’s so hard for us humans to imagine our dogs being happy on three, but it’s true, they get past it much quicker than we do! If you poke around here you’ll see lots of stories about giant breed dogs on three legs, like Thurston the Saint. There have been quite a few others too, and really 120 pounds isn’t nearly the biggest Tripawd member we’ve had here, some have weighed as much as 175 lbs!

Although some larger dogs will take longer to recuperate than younger, smaller ones, for the most part they do really, really well. Be patient during recovery and you’ll get there. Plus, since she’s getting surgery at CSU we know she will get effective pain management , and that makes recovery smoother. It’s not always perfect even with the best of surgery teams, but you have one of the world’s best there that will work with you to iron out any challenges that might crop up.

We are huge CSU fans and know the team really well. EXCELLENT care! Have you seen our CSU interviews? Yes, the Flint Center is amaaaazing! We are also friends with CSU’s Orthopedic Medicine and Mobility team, who did amazing work on our Wyatt Ray for many years. Regarding wheel chairs, be sure to check out our post. Anyhoo, you couldn’t get better help than CSU. Go Rams!

Be sure to check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library if you haven’t already. And stay tuned for feedback from the community.

P.S. We are in Laporte, not too far away from the hospital!

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