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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17 December 2019
We are located in the Balkans, and rescued a year ago a female Kangal with angular valgus forelimb deformity (unequal growth of the radius and ulna bones) that ALREADY had 2 botched surgeries on her right front limb. Her surgery was not only botched from a technical point of view, but her leg was also infected deep in her tissues. After a year of various antibiotic treatment and one corrective surgery with implants put in, the infection is still there… It’s just obvious now, that this will not heal. Two options remain; taking implants out and see if the infection will go down then, or just amputate this right leg……….
The reason for all the hesitation is that she is big + has this angular valgus deformity, so her left leg is not good either, obviously….
Has someone already experienced a big dog amputation with a second leg presenting issues…?
Hi and thanks for joining us. Wow, I had to look up the Kangal breed, it’s not something we see a lot here and I’m pretty sure not ever at Tripawds. They are gorgeous! They remind me of Anatolian Shepherds. Just lovely. And HUGE.
So exactly how big is this girl? We have seen many giant breed dogs here, some as large as 75kg, like Cemil the Anatolian (a breed closely related to the Kangal, no?), and they can do well on three as long as they are otherwise healthy.
As for the angular limb difference issue, one of the dogs who has been through a corrective surgery like this was Ziggy. He’s a smaller guy though. He did have extensive physio therapy. Is physio an option for this dog?
Belle the Great Pyrenese also went through a corrective surgery for a limb difference and she, like your pup, also had issues with her remaining limbs, so you may want to check out the link to her story. I will ask her mom to post here for some feedback.
Meanwhile, what’s her name? We would love to see some photos! Here are instructions for adding images , let me know if you’d like help.
I heard from Belle’s mom Tracy. She tried to post but had trouble, and she wants you to know this:
Hi, I’m Belle’s Mom, we adopted Belle when she was four months old, she already had several problems with her back left hind, after much investigation and deliberation it was decided the best option was to remove the limb, she was 10 months old when this happened. Prior to this happening Belle had Treadmill Hydrotherapy, in fact she had it twice a week every week from the moment we got her, this helped her get in peak physical condition for her surgery and also made her other limbs as strong as they could be.
Her actual operation took about 4 hours, when she came round from her surgery she was a bit wobbly on her remaining limbs but within a couple of days adapted by moving her remaining back leg in so she was standing in a triangle shape, this is how she continues to stand to this day, she also takes every opportunity she can to lean against anybody and she sits on the sofa with her front legs on the floor and her back end of the sofa. After her surgery we continued with hydro twice a week, we also took her to physio where she balanced on a half ball to ensure her core was strong, this improved her balance.
Unlike humans dogs don’t feel any sense of loss or self pity when they have a limb removed, this was so evident in Belle, she was just 100% happy to be pain free for the first time in her life, and my biggest challenge was slowing her down! She is two years on from her operation, we still have hydro once every three weeks and will do forever, she is on the low side of normal weight wise and generally speaking we do off the lead walks so she can set her own pace and stop when she wants to. I take her out twice a day for about 30-40 mins a time, she also goes to doggy day care one day a week, she loves being with other dogs but the playing wears her out so we have a quieter day the day after.
I spend so much time with Belle and over the years I have learnt to read when she is getting tired and needing to rest (when she is tired her back leg sinks down more when she is walking) you will do the same. It is scary but you do actually get to the point where you forget they have three legs, they are just your baby. I can remember picking her up from the vets after her op and absolutely sobbing my heart out but in hindsight it was the best thing for Belle, she’s pain free and she would not swoop that for anything.
Good luck with your journey