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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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Older dog amputation, slow recovery?
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Member Since:
16 October 2012
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29 June 2013 - 9:11 pm
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I am glad to hear Willow is doing much better.  She has had a long road on her recovery.  Keep on going Willow

 

Hugs

Michelle & Sassy

sassymichelle-sm.jpg

Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
sassysugarbear.tripawds.com
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."

Member Since:
30 May 2013
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29 June 2013 - 9:35 pm
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I agree the first two weeks suck.  Keep a regular schedule on the pain meds.  My vet told me 'as needed' and that really didn't work well (tramadol). 

I've since started 1 pill every 6 hours and as TJ got stronger, I could tell his comfort level got better. 

Question your vet!!!!  I don't think many vets have had man OS/amp patients and its up to you to keep up to speed and make sure things are going smoothly.

Ramps do help... going up steps seem to be easier than down... and don't forget to rub down the leg on the other side of the amp'd one because it will get a much harder workout and a post walk doggie message can improve the comfort level.  Plus you get to bond with your dog.  WIN-WIN!!!  :)

Member Since:
13 June 2013
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29 June 2013 - 11:09 pm
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I tell ya', sometimes our fellow tripawd family can just about give us a heart attack when we don't hear from them for awhile.! Then you see a post come up and you hold your breath...................OMD what a rough start Willow has had!! But FINALY on the road to recovery! YAY!

Has she been at the vet's this entire time?

What a homecoming this will be! And I know she'll even do better once she is home!

PLEASE, PLEASE, keep us posted! For her to go through the rigors of a major surgery, adjust to three legs, and add all the other crap on to of that? WOW! She IS one strong, braved, determined IRL! Willow is a lovely gentle name! Now I think you can add WARRIOR Willow!! What a fighter! I know being surrounded by your love is very healing to her.

Please keep us posted and send s pictures when she gets home.

Look forward to many, many ore celebrations! We love pawrys round here!
Did I mention we like updates too?:-) :-)

Sally and Happy Hannah

Hi, Willow was actually home part of the first week. But she was back and forth between my home, the vet that did the surgery, and the emergency hospital. The first week was exhausting mentally and physically. She had to go to the emergency hospital the night of the surgery because the main hospital didn't have staff overnight, which meant Willow would have been left alone, and there is no way I was going to let that happen. And it's a good thing I transferred her to the emergency the first night because her blood pressure dropped so low she almost died. For the rest of the first week she would spend some nights at home, but would often have too much pain and I would have to take her back to the ER. And then I'd have to pick her up at 8am and transfer her back to the main hospital. However the main hospital has had a vet tech on duty 24/7 the last 2 weeks so Willow has been there the last 2 weeks and getting physical therapy. It looks like she might be home this Monday or Tuesday. I will post a pic on my profile of Willow.

I have a question for all of you. I was wondering what kind of harness would be best for Willow. She had her right hind leg amputated. Also I am wondering about what kind of ramp would be best to help her get on and off the bed. Thanks Everyone, Mike

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 June 2013 - 6:55 am
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Mike, I'm so glad she was able to to stay in the emergency hospital; overnight monitoring in cases like this is critical, as you discovered.

As for harnesses, we have an assortment here in our Tripawds Gear blog. This article, Which Harness is Right, can help you decide.

When it comes to ramps, you might want to wait. Unless she has prior experience using one, a ramp is a scary hurdle for a lot of dogs and especially Tripawds. A lot of folks use pet stairs to aid their Tripawd but I would recommend waiting until she is completely healed.

 

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Member Since:
22 November 2012
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30 June 2013 - 2:45 pm
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oh my Mike.. Willow certainly did have a rough start..   but the good news is now it IS getting BETTER!!  It's weird how some of our pups have rough beginnings and then others fly through like nothing!!  My guy Franklin was 14 when he had his surgery.  I will admit that with his age, I was hesitant at first on doing the surgery, but I do not regret it at all!  This site was very resourceful and helpful in becoming a new Tripawd parent.

My Frankie walked to the truck a day and a half after his surgery... he wanted up on the couch as soon as he got home...he didn't want to poop on a leash.. but if you let him off he would do his business no problem.  And he wanted nothing to do with being kept in the tv room as we were trying to keep him less active due to all those veins, etc that had been cut as well as his incision, etc.  He was bandaged up snugly and his pain meds were balanced pretty good.  He was only on Metacam for pain as well as antibiotics for infection prevention.  He flew through with flying colours.. he was the perfect patient.  And he was 14 and about 49lbs at surgery.  I would not hesitate again for any of my fur babies in the future.. 

Franklin, he was the Happiest Dog on Three Legs! Diagnosed 09/26/2012 with Osteosarcoma, amputated 12/4/2012.  Had a wonderful 5 1/2 months painfree until he ran for the Bridge on 5/15/2013.  Always in my heart, and always a guardian angel of my pack...   You can follow his Tripawd Adventures, before and after, in my blog, Frank'n'Farter!

Member Since:
13 June 2013
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30 June 2013 - 8:30 pm
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Mike, I'm so glad she was able to to stay in the emergency hospital; overnight monitoring in cases like this is critical, as you discovered. As for harnesses, we have an assortment here in our Tripawds Gear blog. This article, Which Harness is Right, can help you decide. When it comes to ramps, you might want to wait. Unless she has prior experience using one, a ramp is a scary hurdle for a lot of dogs and especially Tripawds. A lot of folks use pet stairs to aid their Tripawd but I would recommend waiting until she is completely healed.  

 

I was wondering if any of you are familiar with the GingerLead dog slings. It seems that slings are different from harnesses. A sling is better for dogs with a hind leg amputation. Thanks, Mike

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 June 2013 - 9:05 pm
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Hey Mike,

Not able to speak from experience as far as slings/harness. I can tell you that for the first day or so Happy Hannah was ho e after surgery I tried using a towel as a sling.....she didn't llike that at all! She would either "freeze" or try to hop to fast! So you may wat to do a "test" run with a towel t see how she reacts. Hannah is rear leg amp. and weighs about 115 lbs. (without the leg!).

Can you must lift Willow up to the bed or are you worried about her trying to jump down on her own? Happy Hannah never has been able to go up the stairs to sleep in the bed with me and, obviously, she's too big for me to carry? That's the only "less good" part of the amputation journey! K stayed with her downstairs for a over a month j til realized I was. interrupting her sleep she. she ,kept trying g to push me off "her" bed!

I know you will be so happy having g her home and loo forward to the updates! You two have certainly had a rough start but hopeful those days are over! You are a wonderfully devoted pawparents and you should be proud of now you-and Willow--- have overcome all the challenges!

Rest up while you can!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Member Since:
30 May 2013
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30 June 2013 - 9:14 pm
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I can't say I agree with holding off on ramps.  Steps suck.  You're asking a dog to put almost its entire weight on the bad leg and bear it.  A ramp with a gentle enough slope is little more than walking.  Maybe a rear amp has a different mechanic but watching a dog have to jam its entire body weight on one joint that's not used to the full load doesn't seem like a good idea.

TJ took about 4 trips up/down the ramp (its about 14 ft long and about a 8:1 slope) with a treat in front of him till he 'got it'.  SugarBear (13yo lab) took a little longer... about 8 trips.

Now when he goes out its not even a second thought... he's down the ramp.  He likes to walk UP the steps... but DOWN the ramp... ditto for Bear.

Mines made out of pressure treated lumber and painted with non-skid paint.  Maybe $100 total.  A harness costs more than that (if you get the ones from this site).

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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1 July 2013 - 7:26 am
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tjmcbipper said
I can't say I agree with holding off on ramps.  Steps suck.  You're asking a dog to put almost its entire weight on the bad leg and bear it. 

Mines made out of pressure treated lumber and painted with non-skid paint.  Maybe $100 total.  A harness costs more than that (if you get the ones from this site).

Steps are an inevitable fact of life for all dogs. If stairs are considered in this specific situation (i.e., for helping to get up on sofas and beds), the dog should be healed up and without a 'bad leg' before trying a short series of maybe 3-steps  (typically they are carpeted too). Other Tripawd pawrents have had success with them.

Ramps also work for some dogs but not all of them. Many find that the instinct called the "visual cliff" is too powerful to overcome. The visual cliff is the way a dog recognizes differences in heights: many dogs become fearful when this instinct kicks in, which is why many won't use traditional ramps.

To clarify, not all harnesses in the Tripawds Gear shop are over $100. The Ruff Wear Webmaster Harness is $52.95 in the store, including shipping.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
30 May 2013
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1 July 2013 - 10:48 am
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Every dog is different (as we all know :)   )

Member Since:
13 June 2013
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1 July 2013 - 8:35 pm
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Willow is coming home tomorrow!!!!!!! Finally after 3 weeks of hard work she is well enough and getting around great. Today at the hospital she was walking all over the place all on her own. I can't tell you how happy I am to see her happy and up and walking, especially when I think of how she was doing just 1 1/2 weeks ago. I'm still trying to find a ramp and a hind end support sling. The pet stores around here don't have anything. I saw a sling on Google called Gingerlead. Anyone know anything about them? They look like they would be perfect, and they are made for dogs that need support in the hind end. I'm also not sure what to do as far as a ramp. Right now I don't think she can do stairs. Maybe I'll build her a ramp.  Mike

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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1 July 2013 - 8:42 pm
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Aww I'm glad she's returning! Yay! We are happy for you.

Gingerleads are mentioned here in the Forums I believe, just do a search and I think it'll come up. As far as I know it's not the kind of support you can leave on all day but I'm sure it could help. You can ask your vet if s/he has a temporary sling too.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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1 July 2013 - 9:18 pm
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WONDERFUL. EWS! ABSOLUTELY WO DERFUL:-) :-)

Having Willow home is the best news of the day! You two have been through so much. Quite a testament to the determined tion and tenacity to the both of you!

Hopefully, it will be smooth sailing from here on oit-----you certainly deserve it:-)
As TJ's dad said, very dog is different and you have to see wat works best for Willow.

My Happy Hannah uses a very long, wide, sturdy ramp with rails to bypass the eight steps I to the Oise. Very interesting what Jerry said about the "visual cliff". My brother built it several days before surgery so she adapted to it easily with four legs and a trail of her favorite snacks! I think the railing helped with that visual cliff thing.

There's a video of Happy Hannah using it. I "think" Jerry posted it on. tripawd Facebook back in April(?) but I couldn't begin to tell you how to find d it!

Can't wait to hear your update tomorrow! I know you'll be busy lovi g o. Willow, but please drop us a short note on that joyous occasion! She'll still be recover I g from major surgery, along with everything else. Her sparkle may not be fully back yet.....but it will be soon!! And it will be glorious!

HAPPY HOMECOMING WILLOW. Your daddy is wait I g!

Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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1 July 2013 - 9:26 pm
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P.S. Any of the harnesses, etc that you order from Amazon from the icon on this site, a donation is made to tripawds. com. You can order anything--books, etc. from Amazon and a small, small amount comes to the site....just have to click on to amazon from here.

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!

Member Since:
14 May 2013
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2 July 2013 - 6:25 am
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Mike

I thought about a ramp myself when Ramsay first got amputated.I got him (13 you hound mix) a harness to help him up and down the stairs. He actually no longer needs one to use the stairs (5 steps on a deck). He only has it put on when I take him in the car to help him in and out. You may be surprised after a while how Willow adapts. Good luck.

 

Steve

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