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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: 5
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15 December 2019 - 9:09 pm
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My fluffers is. 6 pound Pomeranian. She had a really bad break in her front leg and I took her to the vet immediately. They set it and put a splint on and for 6 weeks we have been going to the vet diligently and kept her as still as possible (that has been rather difficult, I’ve had to push her around the house in a dog stroller to try and keep her off her leg) I have followed every recommendation and unfortunately it did not heal. The part of the bone that was broken away from the elbow down doesn’t even show up on X-ray hardly due to the poor circulation in the extremities of small dogs. The vet said although we tried this was always a possibility. She goes in tomorrow at 730 and I am so worried! I have sick floors and have some rugs down and luckily I have no stairs. I have one step going outside but for some reason she has never gone up or down it. Ever. I’ve have always had to pick her up lol! She normally doesn’t jump up or down on furniture either. But she took a leap and that’s how she broke her leg in the first place. I’m worried about her being so small with such a major surgery. I’m worried about if she breaks another leg? What then? I wanted to try. Permanent splint from orthovet but my vet said with the osteopenia it would be high rise for infection. How will her harness fit after this? She has a padded harness. What about her life jacket? She doesn’t swim but we go kayaking in the summer and she wears a life jacket for safety. She will feel so left out if she can no longer participate in family outings like that?

Livermore, CA




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15 December 2019 - 11:00 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry that the leg didn’t heal. 

After surgery and after she heals her harness should still fit her.  Harnesses tend to slip around a little on front amps but it should still fit.  You will have to see after her incision heals how the harness stays on her.  Her life jacket should still fit too- same caveat as the harness.

Tripawds are at higher risk of injuring a remaining leg- it’s something we all live with.   You do the best you can to limit risky behavior, keep your dog fit and strong, then get on with life!

As far as jumping- I’ve had small dogs for years although bigger than Fluffers.  I have always tried to keep them from jumping down off of furniture with varying results- I know it’s hard.  I have steps and stools by all the furniture they are allowed on and they usually use them.  Giving treats for the behavior you want- like waiting for help down- might help.  When my Pug boy Obie had knee surgery he wasn’t allowed to jump for months.  I ended up keeping his harness and leash on him while we were sitting on the couch so I could keep control of him.

A kayaking Pom?  That is awesome.  I don’t see a reason that she couldn’t go with you once healed from surgery.

My current Tripawd Elly lost her back leg after being hit by a car. Elly is a little (big compared to Fluffers!) Pug mix whose leg was broken when she was 10 months old.  Elly is almost 5 now and can do pretty much anything a dog her age and size can do. 

Best of luck tomorrow with the surgery, let us know how it goes.

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



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16 December 2019 - 11:54 am
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Sorry to hear that Fluffers broke her leg. The advantage with a 6-pounder is that they are easy to carry around! You can also compare Fluffers to the many cats who have done very well with leg amputations. I suppose cats are more agile and the challenge with them is trying to curtail their jumping to high places but they do manage very well with steps and boxes, or like in Fluffer’s case you can just pick her up.

After Mona’s amputation I went to visit her at the clinic and got to spend time with her bundled up in a blanket. She spent the first night with the vet at his house and was ready for me to take her home the next day. The preference for most is to keep the pet at a clinic that has overnight care so the pet can be monitored after the amputation. 

The other concern is that the pet receive appropriate pain medication. You might want to check this out before you bring Fluffers home so you are comfortable with the dosage and scheduling.

You will be amazed what Fluffers can do with 3 legs. Our pets are resilient and determined. Fluffers will need your encouragement after the amputation. After the stitches are out you might want to take Fluffers for physio to learn how to adapt and support her remaining legs. I learned how to massage and stretch Mona’s legs and took her for a couple of chiropractic treatments which she loved.

All the best,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Virginia




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16 December 2019 - 4:21 pm
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Fluffers is clearly well loved and well cared for !  What a lucky gal to have you for her hooman❤

Unfortunately,  we see far too often where trying to save a leg that has fractured end up in amputation.   I know it’s  hard to thimk of amputation  as a “good solution”, but, under the circumstances,  it is!

It’s  ONE surgery, very low chance of infection  (your Vet will give you an antibiotic), after recovery,  she will be prancing  around on three PAIN FREE ready to love life to the fullest!!

Karen and Kerren gave uou good information  on  some of your concerns.   Try and keep thing chunked down for now,   Get through surgery  and recovery  When you go to pick her up don’t  even bother to look at the incision (they do shave a lot of fur),  just let her see your smiling  face telling  her she’s  a good girl and she’s  going home!

Shhh….don’t  tell the big dogs, but smaller dogs usually  bounce back quicker😉

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  We are here for you so stay connected  and update when uou can!

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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16 December 2019 - 7:18 pm
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Thank you all for your kind words. I guess I just have so many worries. Her surgery went well and she should be able to come home tomorrow. One day at a time. I can’t wait to have her back home. I know there will be healing time buts already been a long 6 weeks already. Is she going to have difficulty going potty? I don’t want to do anything to put any extra stress on her. I’m not sure what to expect at this point. So many questions….

Livermore, CA




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16 December 2019 - 7:41 pm
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She will figure out to potty. 

But don’t be surprised if there are some pee accidents when she first gets home.  The pain meds can make them pretty woozy and out of sorts.  You might line her beds and anywhere she is resting with potty pads.  It also is not unusual for poop to take a few days- pain meds are often constipating.

If you have any concerns about when she potties call your vet!  I can’t think of a Tripawd who didn’t figure out potty.  Sometimes boy dogs have issues because they can’t lift a leg anymore (although many figure out how to do that too!).

My Pug Maggie ALWAYS had to spin in a circle before she pooped.  When she first came home she would start to spin and fall into a sit (she lost a back leg).  If looks could kill!!!  I thought she would never poop again… I didn’t know then about pain meds being constipated.  It took her a while but once she got her balance she was able to spin just like she always had.

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

Virginia




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16 December 2019 - 10:26 pm
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YAY!  Surgery is done!!!  She’s  got some good drugs in her and feeling no pain.  You try and get some rest too, okay?  

We understand the uncertainty  and the  fear.  So hang into us as a resource as you navigate through recovery.

Fluffers will pick up on your energy,  so remain calm and confident  and upbeat.  

Your gonna nail this recovery  period, and so is Fluffers!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 December 2019 - 6:58 am
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Yay! You two have made it over a huge hurdle! 

Sorry to make this short but I’m on my phone and a terrible typist! Just want to suggest checking out our What to Expect series of articles as well as Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library for fast answers to our your mind at ease.

Let us know how the reunion goes!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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17 December 2019 - 6:37 pm
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Fluffers is home. She seems happy to be home! She is resting but I have noticed that when she tries to readjust herself and get comfortable she struggles a little. She keeps laying over on the amputated side. I hope that’s not causing her discomfort. She has a very large bandage around her so she doesn’t have to wear a cone so that’s nice. She hates that thing. Of course they shaved a significant amount of her fur so she is totally naked under all the bandage wraps. The vet said she did great when they took her out to potty but I’m very nervous about taking her out. She has always run circles and I don’t want her to fall over trying to find balance and hurt herself. She is eating very good though. She seems like she is starving! 

Virginia




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17 December 2019 - 8:23 pm
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YAAAAAY FOR FLUFFERS!!   AND EATING TOO????  YAY!!

Yes, she will be wobbly and unsure at first.  She still has strong  hospital  pain meds in her and they can make her a bit unsteady.  The fact that she’s laying on the amp side tells me the pain meds are working quite well for now.

Keep her leashed to go out to potty.  IF she will let you, try using a ,little towel sling to help hold her up.  .My Happh Hannah did not like me using a sling to help her.  Fluffers may have a few harmless  face plants as she figures out her new gait.   You and  she will figure things out together…..amd we are here for you both😊

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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17 December 2019 - 10:52 pm
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WOW! All those things you mentioned point to a good recovery so far. She sounds like she is rockin’ her first night home! Honestly that doesn’t sound bad at all. Sure, she will be a bit awkward for a bit as she regains her balance, but this is super early. She will get there, stay pawsitive.

As for pottying, just spot her closely and see if she needs help. If she does fall over you can help her with a sling, but most dogs will do just fine on their own. Just be sure to minimize her movements and activity right now. Pottying should be on leash and she shouldn’t be going outside for anything more than that, until stitches come out.

I’m so glad you guys are together again!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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18 December 2019 - 6:38 pm
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I am so glad to have found this. It’s day 2 and fluffers is doing great! I on the other hand think I’m having some guilt. I wish I could have done more. Before we decided on full leg amputation we discussed a permanent brace with the vet but once the X-rays came back and the broken part of the bone already had osteopenia setting in after only 6 weeks that was no longer an option. Her circulation in her lower limbs just wasn’t good enough. My vet said that’s common in small dogs. But now I’m worried if she breaks another leg (my vet said she can’t) but what about the extra stress this will put on her remaining limbs? Should I be concerned about that? Will her tiny remaining legs be able to support her? She is only 3 and should have a long life ahead of her. At this point I’m just worried. I just love her so much!

Virginia




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18 December 2019 - 7:24 pm
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Fluffers is quite the little RockStar!  So glad to hear how well she’s doing

Okay, as you know,  dogs are our teachers  and we are their students.   So here are some “life lessons” from Miss Fluffers. 

💥  Be More Dog and live in the now!.   Fluffers lives in the NOW, in the present.  She flows effortlessly fron one monent to rhe next with no regrets about yesterdays and no worries about the tomorrows.

💥 Whatever challenges are thrown their way, they accept, deal with it and. move through it.  

It’s human nature to worry, to  visit the wudda’, shudda’, cudda’ worthless space that keeps us from focusing  on the NOW!!!

You and your Vet have made a dec thst ABSOLUTELY  is in Fluffers best interest.  Fluffers was ready to be done with that bum leg once and for all.  She’s  showing  you that right now!

No one can project the future regardless of how many legs a dog has.  And yes, jist ro ease your mind, a three legged dog can most definitely recover should “something” happen to a leg.  To try and cover every “what if” (over which we have no control anyway) keeps you from enjoying being dully present with Fluffers!!   So out all worries aside and know that any challenges can be handled by dealing with it and moving through it.

The Tripawds Foundation will pay for the first visit with a Rehabilitation  Specialist once Dluffers recovers.  They can give you great tips on keeping a tripawd fot snd joints strong, 

Now go give that sweet pup a smooch for us and celebrate  how well she is doing…..and ot hete bettrr snd bettrr 😎😎

Download Be More Dog book.  It’s  Jerry’s story and chock full of lessons from Jerry!

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!

Here and Now


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18 December 2019 - 9:00 pm
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fluffers2019 said
…what about the extra stress this will put on her remaining limbs? 

Protecting remaining limbs is vital, but there are many things you can do. The best place to start – once completely healed from the amputation – is consulting with a certified canine rehab therapist for proper rehab, and exercises you can do to help keep Fluffers fit and strong. There are many starter exercises you can do on your own. But consult with a CCRT or CCRP and the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first visit from the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab.

Most importantly, focus on the Now, and Be More Dog . And that is not just some silly saying…

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19 December 2019 - 7:40 pm
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How do I find a canine dog rehabilitation place in my area? 

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