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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15 May 2008
My 11-year-old border collie mix was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma in a hind ankle. He’s had a weight problem for several years, despite diets and exercise. The vet says he’s not a candidate for amputation because of his age, but I’m more concerned about his weight. His food has been low cal, good quality, but I’m transitioning him to a cancer type diet using Innova (senior), fish oil, a little bit of Nature’s Variety Instinct dry kibble (I’m concerned about too much protein at his age). I’m also going to get the K-9 formula. But I still must make the decision about amputation.
Any insights about amputation for an overweight dog would be appreciated. His weight varies from 43-46 pounds, we can’t seem to get it below 40. He’s short-legged, part Sheltie.
We are sorry to hear about your pup, but know that you have lots of support here, and we’ll do whatever we can to make your situation better.
Now, I’m not a vet, so I can’t give you the most precise information about his weight issue. But I suggest that you get a second opinion about amputation from a different vet. I suspect that maybe your curret vet is unaware of how spectactularly well older dogs can do as tripawds (just look at our site for some examples!). And if he is unaware about older tripawd successes, then chances are he won’t have the best inforamtion for you about your dog’s weight issue and amputation candidacy either. That’s just my two cents for what it’s worth.
Keep us posted and let us know what you decide to do. Thanks for writing.
30 March 2008
Hello Rob, I am with Jerry in that you need to get a second opinion. I am 11 yrs old and just had my leg amputated like a month ago, and am doing great. I cannot give any professional advice either but like Jerry said check this website out and you will find lots of inspirational stories about "young at heart" dogs. Good luck and wish you the best….
26 January 2008
Hmmm, its the ole output-input thing which every weight loss program is based on (ie those things called calories); obviously our output (exercise) is less than it used to be, so we should probably eat alot less. My vet says a Tripawd should be under its normal weight, and believe me that’s a hard one for a chunky Lab like me to follow, but I’m getting some good results now from the new organic pet food I’m on from Natural Planet Organics and I really like it, too. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be "Tripawd’s Next Top Model".
Rob, I’m wondering what you decided for your border collie. Our 4 year-old Chocolate Lab was just diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma in his rear ankle and the Vet has suggested amputation. Mousse is 80 pounds. Plus he’s had two surgeries to replace his ruptured cruciate ligaments, so I’m not so sure his "good" rear leg will be all that good. I’m reading more info about front leg amputations… is rear leg worse? better? This is so scary and confusing. And our puppy is too young!!
Hi Mousse’s Mom,
We are sad to hear about the sarcoma and all that you’re dealing with. It’s a lot to absorb, we hope we can help somehow.
Just my two cents here, but when I got my leg amputated, I learned that dogs carry over 60% of their weight on their front legs. So rear leg amputations are technically much easier for dogs to deal with. However, if there was surgery on one of those rear legs, there could be issues. Sometimes it takes a while for them to show up though, if ever, so I don’t think it’s anything that would be cause for not going forward with the amputation. My pal Samuel Jacob is a perfect example of a dog that dealt with this very well before his recent passing.
Ask your vet to carefully consider if he is a good candidate, based on his health history. Then get a second opinion just to make sure.
And just so you have another good example of an amputee dog who beat the odds, check out Calpurnia, who also had synovial sarcoma.
Good luck. Please keep us posted on how things go.
We’re going to see the specialist that did Mousse’s knee surgeries Tuesday morning — he’ll be the second opinion. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Another question: after rear leg amputation, after Mousse comes home, for how long do you think he’ll need to have around-the-clock supervision/ assistance/ care? We’d like to prepare our schedules as best we can to always have someone home with him. Will that last for two weeks? four weeks? longer? I know everyone is different…
Thanks for your website! It’s the only one I’ve found that is so warm and helpful.
Mousse’s Mom said:
…how long do you think he’ll need to have around-the-clock supervision/ assistance/ care?
Huh? I didn’t get any 24 hr. care!
Well,my people did run their own business so I suppose they could check on me more often. But if all goes well, "around-the-clock supervision" shouldn’t be necessary.
The first few days are critical, to ensure there are no post-op complications or bad reactions to medication. After that, it might be good to check on Mousse a couple times a day for the next couple
weeks. After the stitches come out, or when all seems well – he’s getting around good, eating and drinking – he should be OK on his own.
But my people are telling me to say: they are not veterinarians and cannot provide professional medical advice. Like you said, every story is different, And they can only speak based on their experience with me.
Thanks for kind words about this site. We’re gald you find it helpful. That’s exactly why we’ve developed it. Please keep us posted.
Everyone! Have you considered K9 carts for rehab? They are terrific, lightweight and turn on a dime. I got one for my black pug and she didn’t even know it was on. It gave her her independence back. She had to learn to negotiate door jambs but would just strut about being her usual independant, stuck~up self!
NOTE! Always talk with your Dr. about this first as an option as every dog is different, the incision site has to be considered, weight distribution etc…there are many things to consider. The carts are usually made to order after an evaluation and some companies can make them for front amputees. These should not be used as a substitute for full wt. bearing recovery if your dr. thinks he should be on his own at some point.
I put my able pug in it too just for fun and he immediately trotted around like it was a tutu! It is just my thought, that those of you with the heavier dogs, it could be a way to get them more active to help shed the pounds and it could be something for them to look forward to. I cannot advocate this is for all dogs..only you can decide that, but it is an option that I’m glad I took.
Here are some companies to consider. I sent them measurements and a little video of her walking (she could still hobble at that point). Make sure they will always be available in a timely manner for adjustment help.
micki z said:
Everyone! Have you considered K9 carts for rehab?
Thank you for the wonderful information! And yes, we would love to see some video or photos.
micki z said:
I’m having trouble posting my video.
This forum does not allow the direct upload of media files to our server. Your movies and pictures must reside somewhere else online to include them in your post.
You have a couple options:
- Select the "Insert / Edit Embedded Media" button in the post editor and complete the details pertaining to your movie – media type, file location, dimmensions, etc.
- Post your movie to YouTube and use the Embed Movie code. Simply click on the "HTML" button in the post editor and paste that code from the movie page wherever you want the movie to appear in your post.
- Send us the link to your movie and we can try to add it for you.
Hope this helps. If you have additional questions, please start a thread in the Technical Support forum and we will address them there. Thanks!
P.S.: I just reviewed the post with the clip you attempted to embed. The location of the file you’re pointing to is:
This is not a valid media file. That may be your problem. To embed a movie you must link directly to the media file, not a page that displays the file.