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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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Max needs amputation
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
3 January 2018
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3 January 2018 - 11:38 am
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We have a 35kg 7 year old lab/retriever. Just been diagnosed with tumour upper left leg. No chemo or radiotherapy needed just left leg amputation. He has slight arthritic right front leg but he is otherwise fit and well. Cancer not spread and not in bones. Will he cope ok. We are worried he will deteriorate.

The Rainbow Bridge

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3 January 2018 - 1:23 pm
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Hello Jenny and family, welcome. We are sorry to hear about your dog but it sounds like amputation would cure the cancer? That’s really great news as far as a cancer diagnosis. That, and that he’s in good shape too. If your vet has given him the OK to proceed that’s pretty good, it really doesn’t get better than that.

Of course you’re worried, we totally understand, many of us were in your exact same situation and can relate to your fears. To calm them I encourage you to review Jerry’s Required Reading List and the Tripawds e-books library, which answers many questions and worries about amputation and life on three legs. In short though, you will come to see that animals handle the loss of a leg much better than we ever imagine. I’ll bet your dog will too!

When is the big day? Have you set an appointment yet? Also, what’s his name? 

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3 January 2018 - 4:30 pm
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Yes, tell us more when you get a chance.

Right off the bat, I can tell you, as you already know, Labs (as well as Retrievers) are tough strong dogs.  They certainly are a gentle spirit, but full of determination and grit! They tend to stay young long after their se ior years set in!   That will play in your favor for your pup!

If you’ve had an Orthopedic Surgeon say your pups is a good candidate for amputation, that’s good news.  Many dogs here have arthritis, hip ossues, etc, and still do well with amputation.  In fact, once that painful leg is gone, they seem to do better than before!

Recovery is no picnic for a coupke of weeks, that’s for sure!  It took me three weeks before I couod finae say zi did this FOR my Happy Hannah and not TO her!   It IS major surgery and it’s important ro get the pain meds in on a consistent basis.

 Most dogs come home with Gabapentin,Tramadol and Rimadyl, and an antibiotic.  Some are given a pain patch (fentanyl) for a few days when they eave the hospital.  Most dogs spend one night (sometimes more) in an overnight clinic.

If you have hardwood floors you’ll want non slip scatter rugs for traction .  For the first two weeks, just short leashed potty breaks, then back in for rest…And more rest.  If possible, avoid all stairs and no jumping up on sofas!

And YES, dogs master THREE legs like a champ!!  It’s up to us to monite their activity once they are healed because they tend to overdo sometimes!  

Dogs can still swim, do agility, do nose work, play frisbee….just toss it low so they don’t have rro jump.  You’ll find that they really do just get on with Loving Life On Three Legs !

STAY CONNECTED!  We are right by your side the whole way!   Ask ANY wuestions, express anh concerns.  We’ve all been through the journey of shock at the word amputation, to joy when we see their sparkle come back!


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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