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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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Pablo the Catahoula
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
26 August 2015
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26 August 2015 - 2:00 pm
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 My big guy Pablo got diagnosed 2 weeks ago on 8-7-2015 with a tumor (osteosarcoma) left front near the wrist. He is an 8 yr. old Catahoula, 105 lbs., and has had TPLO surgery in both back legs, some arthritis in the rear right. He’s a big boy and people always think he’s a Dane. I’m keeping him on Tramadol right now which helps. He is doing pretty normal now besides his little limp. I’m feeling amputation wouldn’t make any major life improvement…other than buying a few more months.

Here and Now

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26 August 2015 - 3:24 pm
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Hi Pablo & family, welcome. I hope you don’t mind but I moved your post here to this forum so others could follow your story about life as a big dawg on 3 legs. 

Sorry to hear about the osteo diagnosis. What do your vets think about him being a candidate for life on 3 legs? We’ve had other dogs bigger than him who did great. It’s not right for every dog but for those who decide to do it, what amputaton does is alleviate the pain, which will soon get worse and to the point that no pain medications will help. If you’re leaning against amputation, talk to your vet about bisphosphonates or radiation therapy to help him with the pain. Remember, dogs hide pain very very well and by the time they show it, it’s pretty bad. 

The other thing about amputation is after the recovery it buys a good quality of life. There are no guarantees about how long anyone will get but keep in mind that dogs don’t know what calendars or timelines are, they just want to feel good and live every day to the fullest. It’s one of the crazy things about this disease, it reminds us to live in the moment. 

I hope you get a lot more time with him no matter what you decide. If you have specific questions we can help answer just holler OK?


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27 August 2015 - 8:45 am
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Pablo sounds like a great dog! There’s just a whole lot more to hug with big sogs!

You’ve gotten great advice. Just inow that we are here for you to help in anyway we can. This is news that just rocks your world and we understand like no others can.

Do you have access to an Orthopedic Surgeon and/or a Rehab. Specialist? I would definitely have Pablo evaluated to see if he is a good candidate for surgery. Many dogs here, large and small, have had other “issues” with their remaining limbs and have done very well. IF Pablo is a good candidate, then you may want to reconsider.

As far as “longevity” after amputation…it really is a crap shoot. Some dogs get great extended time, some not as much. But they pretty much all get extended QUALITY time that is pain free. My 125 lb. Bull Mastiff, Happy Hannah, got one year and two months of more loving and spoil than I ever thought could be bestowed on one dog! (And remember, I.e., six months in doggy hears equals three years in human years.)

Do your research, check out all your options…and don’t forget to BREATHE! Remember, Pablo isn’t worried about a thing. He’s living in the moment…in the now…and just wants ro be by your side. I think getting him some steak and ice cream for supper tonight and videoing him eating it would be great fun! Take lots of pictures of your sweet boy…we would love to see him!

Stay connected and update when you can.

Hugs to you both!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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27 August 2015 - 10:39 am
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Thanks for the replies and advice, its much appreciated 🙂

I am considering having an orthopedic specialist evaluate him. He has been seen by the ‘regular’ vet, a radiologist, a surgeon, an oncologist, and a few more ‘ologists’ I don’t know the names for. They’ve given me all the facts, figures, statistics and assessments complete with details, and it all comes down to what I think because I know him best. He hates going to these places…he shakes like a leaf and we both feel relieved getting out. I tell him we don’t have to do that anymore. Hmmm.

I can honestly say that this has been almost more heartbreaking, stressful and worrisome then when my own father was diagnosed with terminal cancer…because he was at peace with everything, and could articulate that, with (or without) humor. I know he really appreciated the discovery of morphine 🙂


The Rainbow Bridge

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27 August 2015 - 9:23 pm
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Yep, it’s a decision nopawdy can make but you unfortunately. If he hasn’t been seen by an ortho “ologist” I’d really recommend that.

The most common way of approaching this situation is to take care of the pain first, then anything after that is icing on the cake.

Yep, it’s hard when they count on us to speak for them. But at the same time it helps us develop our intuition and ability to live in the Now. One of those crazy lessons cancer teaches us, for sure.

Keep us posted OK?

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