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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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Rolo, our sweet 6yo, 95 lbs, Irish wolfhound/Retriever mix, osteosarcoma on his right/front leg
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Member Since:
16 February 2022
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16 February 2022 - 9:58 am
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We have an Irish wolfhound mixed, (we think with retriever), his name is Rolo. He is 6 years old and weights 95 lbs. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last week (Feb 9th) on his right front leg. As someone who has a family member who had this cancer and also had his arm amputated, I know that amputation is the best option to avoid having the cancer spread to Rolo's lungs.

He has an oncologist appointment on Feb 21st to do a stage evaluation to know if the cancer has spread anywhere else, and if it hasn't then I say to amputate his leg and give him chemo to make sure any cancerous cell that might had stayed somewhere, doesn't have the chance to spread with vengeance. Now, my hubby is hesitant to amputate because he feels Rolo won't have a good life quality w/3 legs.

I feel terrible to not give him the chance even if it is with 3 legs, just because of being afraid that he won't adapt. I've read stories about large heavy dogs with 3 legs and all have beautiful things to say, but hubby is still not sure that Rolo being tall and heavy as he is, will be ok after surgery... Please does someone here have a tall, large, heavy pup that went through this surgery?

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24 September 2009
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16 February 2022 - 10:36 am
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Hi Rolo and family, welcome. I'm in the Tripawds Chat for a bit if you want to talk.

It's so ironic you are dealing with this cancer after a human family member was diagnosed with it too. As you already know, amputation can give back quality of life. While it won't cure the disease in dogs, it takes away the terrible pain of a bone tumor. The majority of dogs will bounce back and get back to enjoying what they love.

At 90 pounds, Rolo isn't the biggest dog who's ever joined us. We've had Great Danes, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, you name it. Some have been as large as 175 pounds, even up to 200. We've had many, many dogs much larger join us and go on to live happy lives on three. So while he's larger, there's no reason why he can't have a good quality of life. Does your vet think he is a good candidate? If it helps your husband to get another opinion, that's a good move. The oncologist will hopefully give him the information he needs to feel better about the decision. Also, having Rolo see a rehab therapist after surgery will give him a leg up (pun intended!) on recovery. And the Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit so you've got nothing to lose. We are happy to help find a therapist if your vet doesn't have one to refer you to.

Also, encourage your hubby to check out our posts about giant breed dogs, watch our giant breed videos, and come here to ask any questions. 

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for feedback from others.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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22 August 2008
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17 February 2022 - 7:46 am
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There have been purebred Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds on this site who have done well. I think the names might be Finnegan and Darcy.



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22 February 2013
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17 February 2022 - 9:54 am
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You have the perfect attitude about amputation,  why it's done and the benefits  of having a pain free quality  life!  I can u derstand your husband's hesitancy, but the reality is large dogs do jist fine.  If you have the go ahead from an Orthopedic  Surgeon  that Rolo is a good candidate,  then  he should  adapt just fine.  And really, 90 lbs is not that "large".  Tall and lanky, chunkier and shorter, large dogs adapt very well. ..

Oh goodness, we most certainly  have had large dogs, much larger than Rolo, adapt  to three very well!!  As Pam mentioned, Woflhounds, Mastiffs, Great Danes, St. Bernards etc.   If I recall,  we had a member with 230 lb pup....just cant remember  the name.In fact Pam had a Mastiff named Tazzie who mastered  the art of three at 170 lbs.  My Happy Hannah (BullMastiff) weighed in at 125 lbs for her amputation.

Hopefully after checking  out some videos and continuing  to do hos research, your hubby will be more on board.  We know it's  not an easy decision.   We sure get that.  

Rolo is lucky to jave you as an advocate.......someone  who understands  from sort of their own personal experience  too is a plus.


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!

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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17 February 2022 - 6:48 pm
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tazziedog said
There have been purebred Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds on this site who have done well. I think the names might be Finnegan and Darcy.


Oh my gosh Dr. Pam has been with us for so many years! Yes! Here are their stories from many years ago, and still shining brightly in our hearts, forever!

Darcy Deerhound

Finnegan the Irish Wolfhound

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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