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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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Narla, our beautiful mastiff may have to become a tripaw... after some advice please
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Ally
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24 October 2012 - 8:13 pm
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Hi Everyone,

 

Came across this wonderful site whilst googling 3 legged dogs as our dog Narla has quite a severe injury to her front paw that may end up in an amputation, skin grafts or the unthinkable, putting her to sleep.

 

Narla is 4 and is the most wonderful natured dog you can imagine, she is brilliant with our 2 year old daughter and has nothing but love for all those around her.

 

I am after a bit of advice from people who have had to amputate a front limb on a large dog, she is 46kg.  Being a mastiff she doesnt have a LOT of energy, she much perfers to lay around and generally be close to us.

 

I am so heartbroken right now as the next 7-10 days are critical to see what/if anything can be saved on her pads.  I cant bear the thought of putting her to sleep and either can my fiance. 

 

Not sure how to upload a photo of our girl sorry

 

Thanks for reading

Ally

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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25 October 2012 - 4:06 am
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Welcome to the group.  You will find a host of supportive folks here who have been down the road you are about to travel.  It isn’t always a great road, but soon it becomes a way of life.  You accept it and just live each day to its fullest.

There are several large dogs, Tazzie the mastiff comes to mind. Large dogs can live on 3 legs.

Sending you many good thoughts as you face the decisions ahead.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 October 2012 - 10:11 am
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Hi Ally, we’re glad that you found us. I’m so sorry to hear about Narla’s situation. Was she in an auto accident? Poor girl!

We know amputation is a scary thought, especially for a big dog. But at 46 kg (that’s 101 lbs), she’s actually at at the smaller range of giant breed amputees we’ve known here, some of whom weighed as much as 75 kg!). Just search the forums for Mastiff, Cane Corso, or Great Dane and you’ll find lots of examples. What does your vet think about her being a candidate for amputation?

Based on the giant breeds we’ve known here,  the big advantage in being a giant breed Tripawd is that they are indeed usually couch potatoes to begin with, so living life in the slow lane is generally easier than say, for a herding breed or a highly active dog. On the other hand, while recovery can be ruff for any dog, we’ve seen some giant breeds have a harder time because in fact they are so mellow….getting up is just a chore so it takes more oomph! to get them to re-learn how to do this kind of thing. All in all recovery doesn’t last more than a few weeks and by the end of the month most dogs are starting to get their new normal groove going on. 

I hope that we can be of comfort to you as you face this decision. Narla is still a young gal with a lot of life ahead of her, I’m sure she will do fine as a Tripawd but this is a big decision that you’ll want to discuss closely with your vet, maybe even get a second opinion to make you extra comfortable with whatever you decide. 

In the meantime, if you register as a member, your future posts won’t require moderation. We’re here for you, so keep us posted on what’s going on.

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



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25 October 2012 - 10:13 am
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It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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25 October 2012 - 6:13 pm
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Thank you so much for the replies :)

 

I have now joined and my pic is of course Narla.

 

A bit of background about how we came to be in this situation.

 

At the moment we are staying with my in laws as my fiance Heath is having spinal surgery in a couple of weeks, so we have rented our house out for 3mths. The inlaws have a small property and my Mother in laws partner has a dog that isnt overly friendly towards other dogs and they were worried about our 2 dogs (who have not got a vicious bone in their body but as many would know being the breed they are they are often misjudged on their appearance). Their dog is a lot smaller so we thought we would do the right thing and make sure our fur babies were as secure as possilbe.

 

We built a pen that was fully eclosed and had 2 kennels attached at the end of it, we would take them out of an afternoon with their leads so they still had time with us.  It wasn’t ideal as when we were in our house Narla would be inside with us (some people have a chiuahua as a house dog we had a 45kilo mastiff lol)

 

Unfortunatley the door of the pen had a small piece of exposed tin which we didnt realise and even more unfortunatley Narla has always hated thunderstorms.  So we had a storm last week and poor Narla has obviously been terrified, she has tried to get out of the pen and she has almost sliced off the pad on her front paw.  Our vet (who is wonderful and loves Narla as much as us I think!) has tried to reattach but it hasnt taken and part of her paw is dying, so at the moment its one day at a time to try and work out if they can graft from on of her toes and if they cant we are looking at amputation.  After talking to the vet yesterday he does seem confident that Narla would cope with the 3 legs as she isnt an overly active dog.

So at the moment we just wait and see. The main thing is putting her down is NOT an option and we will be doing everything we can to keep her.

Sorry this is so long!

Ally

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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25 October 2012 - 6:42 pm
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Your post will not require moderation now that you are registered and have the initial post behind you.

Love the avatar.  Narla is gorgeous.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Sydney, Australia
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25 October 2012 - 9:35 pm
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Narla is beautiful, I just want to kiss that nose!

Magnum was a 40kg rear amputee (35kg afterwards).  She was a very active dog but she adapted to 3 legs extremely well.  Even if it had been her front leg I would not have hesitated with amputation.

If you went ahead with amputation Narla would also benefit with physio/rehab to help keep her in the best physical condition since she is still a young dog.

 

Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ...... http://princess.....pawds.com/

krun15
8
26 October 2012 - 12:31 am
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Hello and welcome. Sounds like you have your hands full with everything going on right now!
My Tripawd was a little rear amp pug so I can’t help you there. But one of my local Tripawd pals is a 150 lb (68 kg) front amp Anatolian Shepard. He has been a Tripawd for more than 3.5 years and gets around fine. He is not a hugely active dog by nature, but he manages to get to the park and around to visit with all the people and pups. I hope the repair surgery works for Narla, but if not if your vet thinks she is a good candidate then she should be fine as a Tripawd.

Keep us posted on how she is doing.

Karen and the pugapalooza

San Diego, CA
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26 October 2012 - 1:03 pm
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Sorry you had to find us here. Our pup was not a large breed (tall & skinny), so I can’t ad much there, but others have given you some good examples of BIG pups on the site that have done great. 

Just wanted to say welcome to the site nopawdy wants to join. It’s good that you are not dealing with cancer at least, as many dogs here are. Keep us posted on Narla. She’s so cute!

Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!


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27 October 2012 - 9:25 am
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Can you post a photo of the foot?  If it is just her pad there might be some possibility of saving the leg.  I hope that Wookie chimes in because I think she has great surgical advice but I know at our clinic we have had good luck healing quite a few gnarly soft tissue wounds with honey/sugar and frequent bandage changes.  It depends on her pain level and if bone is involved.

Pam

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27 October 2012 - 2:55 pm
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Goodness, I’m so sorry you had to find us as it sounds like you have a ton on your plate already. She certainly is adorable. Our boy Sam was a front leg amp and was 118 pounds pre-amp – as a Bernese Mountain Dog, he was also pretty low energy and would much rather be at our feet or on the couch than run around playing. That being said, he still loved to roam and play after the amp – he was brilliant on 3 legs! Marla will do well if that is the decision you find yourselves needing to make. Good luck! Xo Sue

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28 October 2012 - 5:40 pm
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Again thanks everyone for the warm welcome and words of advice!

Things certainly have been a bit hectic of late but with any luck will beging improving!

 

the damage is just her pads, and our wonderful vet is doing everything he can to save her foot, at the moment though we are going through a bandage change every two days and get rid of parts that are still dying and hopefully this week we will know what can be done, the vet is talking about doing skin grafts using the pads on her toes.

I dont have a pic to put up sorry as the foot is bandaged constantly.

 

So hopefully we can save it but if not, after seeing the amazing dogs on this site, I am confident Narla will deal with being a Tripaw just fine……. she will be extra special… not too mention probably extra spoilt too!

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 October 2012 - 6:14 pm
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Oh she looks like such a sweetie!

I’m so sorry she is going through this after such a scary incident. My paws are crossed that things go well and she doesn’t need amputation. Please keep us posted.

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