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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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Is 15 too old to amputate?
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Clearwater, FL
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
24 March 2019
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24 March 2019 - 10:25 pm
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My 15 yo terrier mix had 2 herniated discs removed from his back last September. 

Since then he has been in rehab 3x a week because his hind left leg was paralyzed. His hip is working but it looks like his knee is not.

i am considering having the leg amputated so that he gets his mobility back.  Right now, he can only do backwards circles on his butt.

my vet is concerned that he is too old for this type of surgery. She is also his rehab dr. She plans on consulting with his neurosurgeon and a specialist in amputations.

Any thoughts from the forum will be greatly appreciated.



The Rainbow Bridge

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25 March 2019 - 6:29 am
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Hi Barb, welcome. I’m on my phone now and will be back later with some thoughts, but wanted to get your post approved so so others can chime in too. Back in a bit…

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 17908
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25 March 2019 - 8:50 am
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Hi Barb! Oh mh goodness, you sure donjave a spunky Yorkie in your hands!!  He sounds like a very determined  fella’.

I’m  glad your Rehab Vet is gett second opinions lon whether your pup is a good candidate.  

In general here, we say age is just a number.   Other factors are attitude, overall good health, as well as considering the life expectancy  of certain breeds, etc., 

It sounds like more assessment  is needed to ensure your pup is a good candidate. moreso because of his back issues rather than age. It would have to be determined definitively  that the paralyzed leg is confined to that one leg and other limbs are. not affected due to the back surgeries.  

So continue  to get professional  opinions  and have your pup  thoroughly evaluated.  I would definitely  have him see an Orthopedic  Specialist  in person.  That Specialist  can help you make a determination that’s  best for your pup.

 Maybe  even a little wheelchair could ve an answer.  Discuss  that with your pup’s team too.  That could help eliminate any potential back issues too.

BTW, YES, we have had senior dogs kn thst ahe damge have amputations and do well for whatever remaining lofe span rhey may have.

Two dogs who come to mind are Shooter and Samson.  I believe they were fourteen and fifteen at the time.  

We’ll look forwatd to updates, and we would love pictures too!  His avatar  is adorable!!


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

Forum Posts: 25739
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25 March 2019 - 9:15 am
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Hi Barb, I’m back now.

It sure does sound like you and your vet team are doing all the right things to evaluate him for surgery. Many members went out for second and even third opinions before amputating, and decided to do it with good results. Being that your pup is smaller he should do fine. And when it comes to dogs and cats, especially smaller breed dogs, age really is just a number. Orthopedic surgeons tell us that if a dog is otherwise healthy, neither age nor size should be a deal-breaker when it comes to amputation.

If he is not a candidate for some reason, life as a wheelchair pup isn’t a bad way to go either if you are committed to ensuring a good quality of life for him when he’s on wheels. Our friend Sharon of Lessons from a Paralyzed Dog has lots of experience in that department, see:

Paralyzed Dog Tips, Lessons and Support from Sophie and Sharon

Here is Shooter’s story, and another senior dog, Bailey, had an amputation at 15 and went on to thrive until age 19! 

Let us know how the other opinions go, we’ll be waiting!

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