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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Need advice on helping our girl the best we can post-op
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Chris/ South Africa
24 November 2023 - 4:58 am
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Greetings to all.

We own a 10 y/old Belgian Shepherd recently diagnosed with Osteosarcoma of the right hind leg. We were encouraged by our vet to give her a fighting chance amputation needed to happen and happen quickly.

The OP was done 8 days ago and the family feel hugely overwhelmed by this experience, where in all fairness the focus should not be us but our girl Jaz. We have another six days to go till suture removal. I am asking for any help and assurance with the predicament we currently face.

We are so paranoid that she might hurt her remaining rear leg when take out on potty breaks etc., and when moving around that we have become so overprotective that I am sure she feeds of this. I want to do good by her and the balancing act between what is too much or too little in her recover movement-wise is so difficult to figure out.

As she is week on her back leg and buckles at times. We got a physio in yesterday to assist and told us to allow her more freedom on potty breaks which we did and she now had a wobble and fell so we are now even more concerned. She tires very quickly and now we hover over her when we are out.

Has anyone had the same experiences/ advice of this balancing act/ or can relate.

Our vet say go at her pace but that is generally quite non specific. We have a harness and anti-slip mats to cover our tiles which we have done. But will only pee on poop when given space so this is the window for trips etc.,

I know the recovery depends on us as she puts her effort in and more but we are lost. Any advice or comments. Is this normal has anyone felt or been through the same?

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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24 November 2023 - 1:28 pm
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Hi Chris and Jaz, welcome! We hope you will consider joining as a member, that way your posts won't need to wait for approval (after the first one). 

I'm sorry Jaz is dealing with amputation recovery. It's not an easy path as you discovered, but you can do this! Have you seen our What to Expect articles ? They really give you an idea of what recovery generally looks like, and to answer your question, this is not unusual at all. Most dogs, especially larger ones, need extra time and help getting around for the first couple of weeks. It is a lot of work getting around on three (Try it yourself ... crawl on four legs then lift one up, and try to move around, you'll see how much it throws your balance off). But rest assured one day, everything comes together and you will be so surprised when it happens! 

It's wonderful you took her to a physio! GREAT!!! Did you know Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit ? Check out the link, we are happy to reimburse you for that cost, since none of this is inexpensive. Did the physio give her a pain management assessment to make sure she's not in need of additional medication?

You are doing everything right so far, especially by adding traction and a harness, and by keeping a good attitude. I don't think you are as lost as you think you are, but I can certainly hear worry in your voice, so lean on us for support, we get it.


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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24 November 2023 - 3:56 pm
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As you have seen from Jerry's feedback,, you have come to the right place for support, information and understanding from those of us who get it!

If you are like a lot of us the first week or so in recovery you are asking "What have I done to my dog?"   You probably have gotten very little sleep and are exhausted emotionally and physically.

If Jaz is eating and drinking and potty and even just a little bit mobile she's doing pretty darn good at this point.  If eating is off a little bit and if she doesn't poop as consistently as you would like, that's pretty normal.  So yeah, her "pace" should just be potty breaks for now.  Most dogs do not want their humans hovering over them while they try to pee and poop. I know you want to stand near but try to give her enough space to handle that.  It's a catch want to help her with a harness but she won't  potty if you do.

The first two weeks she should just be doing short least potty breaks and back in for rest. It is perfect n0rmal to tire easily while she is adjusting  to three and while she is on pain meds.  A stumble here and there will happen at first.

What  are her pain meds, dose, frequency  and how much does she weigh. 

What did the physio consist of? It may be that she is a little more wobbly today as it pushed her in ways her muscles weren't used to yet.

Overall, it sounds like you are really doing a great job and she is too! Continue to stay strong and confident in front of her and keep your energy at a positive upbeat state.

Update more when you can and hopefully, you now feel a little bit more reassured as what normal looks like during recovery.


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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