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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.


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Member Since:
29 March 2024
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30 March 2024 - 6:32 am
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All new to this!!!!

We have a mastiff/great Dane mix, his name is Goon. His was diagnosed with bone cancer 4 months ago. We have already done radiation therapy and chemo.  Unfortunately the cancer in his front right leg is getting the best of the bone. We were told to either put him down or amputate. We were also told in the beginning of all this he was not a good candidate due to his size. Goon has the will to live. He still eats, enjoys laying on the deck in the sun, plays and greets us at the door daily. He also loves to get on the couch and look out the bay window. With all that being said we are just not ready to let him go due to his fight for life. I'm just not sure will he still be able to walk after we take the leg and we are scared we are doing him a disservice.   Ree


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 March 2024 - 11:26 am
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Hello Ree and " Goon".  Your post has been approved and now we will be able to support you with information  and reassurance. 

How old is Goon and how mich does he weigh?

First of all, size(nor age)  not genreally a dominating  decisive reason for not amputating. 

Has Goon been assessed by an Orthopedic Surgeon?  It sounds like he is fit and still has some spunk.and is enjoying life.  We've had  dogs weigh in the 175 lb range and even higher.....English Mastiffs, Great Danes, etc, etc,

One Great Dane comes to mind, who not only was a large dog but also had Wobblers.  It wasnt until the owner got a THIRD opinion  from an Orthopedic  Specialist  who said, yes, he would do the amp and the dog thrived for two glorious years.

So if necessary, get a second and even a third opinion.  

Unless there are underlying issues, so I should not really be a factor.

We'll look for your update when you have a chance and we'll go from there, okay?


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!

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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30 March 2024 - 1:52 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this and having to make these tough decisions.

My Tripawds have been small so I can't help with the size, but I've been around here a long time and from what I've seen the size of a dog should not be the only factor in making the decision. When I first joined her with my little Pug Tripawd (mast cell cancer) I found a group of people and Tripawds who got together once in a while.  The first Tripawd I met in person was a 150 pound Anatolian Shepard who lost a front leg to osteosarcoma.  Cemil hopped happily though life and didn't pass from OSA.

I did a quick blog search and FOUND THESE RESULTS mostly about Great Dane Tripawds.  If you read about Eurydice you will see links at the bottom of the story to forum posts about her adventures around Europe.

And I think Sally was talking about ATLAS THE GREAT, a Dane with wobblers before amp surgery.  It looks like some of the youtube links in the story are broken, but toward the end are links to forum posts and his Blog.

If you scan through this forum you will find lots of stories about large and giant breed dogs who did fine on three.

Another opinion sounds like a good idea to assess his overall fitness.


Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

Member Since:
10 June 2023
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30 March 2024 - 4:26 pm
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Sorry you have to go through with this decision; It's true that every dog and situation is different, but for us we would amputate again without question...  We had a tall Newf, 31", so not quite Dane size but probably stockier,  and we decided to amputate because of the danger of his fragile bone fracturing (very painful). Nicholas had almost no problems with the recovery period and went on to have a great time until an unrelated fatal accident. Other dogs still respected his authority, he felt confident and happy, and he was as intelligent and social as ever. We made a few minor adjustments around the house like stairs and mats, and he had to lose 10 pounds, but like your dog, he was enjoying life and not ready to leave. We had a very empathetic and knowledgeable rehabilitation doctor, which helped. 

Member Since:
29 March 2024
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30 March 2024 - 5:47 pm
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So glad to hear about some encouraging news. I know this won't be easy but he deserves this chance. Goon is a 6 year old strong willed dog. He has been walking on a fractured paw now for about 1 month.  As soon as we found out it was fractured amputation is now our only option.  We have talked with the surgeon even know the odds could be against him with only 3 legs. We are going forward with this and will be fighting right along with him. I know it's a risk due to his size but he's a fighter

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 March 2024 - 8:56 pm
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Ree, I'm so glad you found us but sorry you had to. Everyone here has given you such spot-on insight. The best surgeons in the world tell us that neither size nor age should be the only reason to say they're not a candidate for amputation. You can also check out some giant breed Tripawd stories here that will give you more confidence in your decision.

Be sure to check out our What to Expect articles and our Tripawds e-books library for additional resources. Ask any questions you'd like, we are here for you and Goon.

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