TRIPAWDS: Home to 24378 Members and 2166 Blogs.

Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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.


Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

Instant post approval.

Private messages to members.

Subscribe to favorite topics.

Live Chat and much more!

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Giant breed, cancer and amputation
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
15 April 2024 - 5:18 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

My gorgeous girl is Ava, a Great Dane. She was a rescue from the animal shelter in 2021. She had been used as a breeder and then due to genetic eye issues, was taken to the shelter to have euthanized at the young age of 2.5 years. Thankfully, the shelter staff talked the breeder into surrendering her and as soon as I saw the shelters post, I jumped into my car to go get her. I've never had a Dane, never had any giant breed! But I knew she needed out of there asap, as she had shut down emotionally. 

Fast forward to January 30, 2024 when my daughter, a vet assistant of 11 years, noticed Ava had a swollen joint on her front right leg. I commented, maybe one of the other dogs had bumped her or she'd fallen on the stairs and hit her knee. My daughter sensed in though and said it may be a tumor. Next day appointment at my cat vet, x-rays showed the definite sign of osteosarcoma.  My heart sunk.....

The vet said that giant breeds don't do well with amputation. 

Now....I have a 6.5 year old German Shephard that I got as an 8 week old pup only because of the Facebook post "This puppy needs a special home. He was born with a deformed (front) leg and will need an amputation." My head said that I don't need nor have room for a large dog like he'd grow heart had complete control of my hands as my fingers typed "I'll take him!" Haha One of the best decisions I've ever made. Point being, I was no stranger to amputation. But.....the giant breed.....

We started Ava on pain medications to keep her comfortable and I cried for several days thinking I was going to have to say goodbye sooner than later. 

Fortunately, I posted her story in a FB group I belong to and I immediately got responses saying their dog had to have a leg amputated, their GREAT DANES!! After a few days, I felt from Ava that she wasn't done living and that she'd fight! 

The search for a willing vet to perform the surgery was then underway. 

I made a consult appointment with the vet that performed 2 - 3rd eyelid surgeries on her the past year or so. He wasn't my favorite, but he was the 4th vet we'd seen about this surgery. I had to advocate hard and loudly to get him to perform the surgery. 

He was not on board with amputating, without chemo afterwards. That hadn't even been brought up. So, he referred me to MedVet oncology department in Salt Lake City, Utah which was the closest specialist go me. 

We had a telehealth appointment and they already had the reports and x-rays that I emailed to them. 

In the end, I found a vet that was like "let's take that leg off!" 

We're 19 days post-op now. The first 2 weeks were a blur. Keeping up on her meds was a LOT!! Making sure she drank, ate, went pee, went poop, didn't lick, didn't get bumped, didn't get on or off the bed without help.....

It was a LOT! My vet assistant daughter lives next door, fortunately, and helped me a lot! 

We live in a second story apartment,  so stairs are required to go out to potty. 

This sweet girl is a champ! Barely ever even the tiniest complaint from her! The stairs were hard. Slowly, one at a time. 

Her appetite was good on the 3rd day, she peed on the 2nd day, pooped on day 4. I took the frame out from under my bedroom accommodate her and make it safer for her. I bought her a futon to have in the living room so she didn't feel like she had to stay in the bedroom. 

I have babies her, maybe a little too much but also gently prodded her to do what she can. It's a balance and depends on the time of day and how long since her pain meds.

Since her surgery, I did read a comment from a lady regarding phantom pain , which I hadn't heard of before. I think she has that. 🥺 She'll suddenly cry out while she's laying down sleeping. It's happened a handful of times now.

So, there's our story! We're on the road to recovery!! I'm planning on getting her out and about on the beautiful weather days. I'm buying her an extra large cart to put her in when she's tired of walking or if there's no grass to walk on. 


Any questions, thoughts, ideas? Please don't hesitate to reply! I'm open to hearing everything! 


Much love! 🩷🐾🩷

Jilly and Ava



Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15 April 2024 - 6:25 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello Jilly and Ava.  Thank you for sharing so much detail on Ava' journey ey....prior to and after amputation. 

Your post has been approved so you can continue  to keep us posted on your sweet girl..

It sounds like she is over the hardest part of the recovery. Although  still mavigati g through the rest of it.  You are dojng an excellent  job of giving her proper care and mo Teri g her progress.  

It does sou d like she is having a few bouts of phantom  pain.  Speak with your Vet about adjusting  her Gabapentin as that is generally  the treatment to help that pain subside and go away.

What dose and frequency of the Gabapentin is she on now? How much does she weigh?

You'll still want to keep her walks to several ahort walks rather than a couple of long walks.  The best way to help her build her strength  is with a consultation with a Certified  Rehabilitation  Specialist.   They can show you exercises to do to build her core strength  which is so important  for tripawd fitness.

The good news is the Tripawds Foundstion will pay for the first consult.   We have had many giant breeds (many Great Danes) be efit greatly with these consultations.

We really look forward to celebrating all the upcoming Milestones ever will accomplish. She is clearly very well loved and is getting exquisite care. And I love that you already have another German shepherd dog thriving on three. These dogs could not have picked better humans for their forever home

Much love eight back atcha'

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Ps. So glad you didn't give up and found a surgeon who understood that giant breeds can do just fine on three!

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

Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15 April 2024 - 7:44 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Way to go on advocating for her! smiley_clapToo many vets dismiss larger dogs as good candidates. They just don't see enough of them. But we do, and most do great! In fact this community wouldn't exist if we hadn't see a three-legged Great Dane named Moose digging for gophers with one front paw! We thought that if he could be happy, so could our Jerry.

Yes it does sound like she may have untreated pain. It could be phantom leg pain or something else, so do talk to your vet about it.

So now you have TWO Tripawds? WOW! smiley4sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 145
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1275
Members: 17983
Moderators: 6
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 24
Topics: 18690
Posts: 257500
Administrators: admin, jerry, Tripawds
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.