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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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Senior Dog Amputation - Doing Great!
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Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
9 April 2010
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9 April 2010 - 7:38 pm
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I wanted to (and was encouraged) to post for those concerned with amputation in senior dogs.  Our 13 year old chocolate lab, Dakota was diagnosed on February 26 with digit melanoma, 3rd toe on the front right foot.  Even though the surgeon was sure it was melanoma we had to wait for pathology to come back with confirmation. Once received we had lymph node aspirations performed to confirm there was no metastasis (the chest x-ray was clear).  Once that was confirmed, the state veterinary school consulted with our vet and advised front limb amputation was the best course to take to give Dakota the quality of life he deserves in his senior years.  This was an extremely hard decision for us to make considering Dakota’s age, his level of activity and what we could expect as far as changes in his personality and his quality of life.  We struggled with the decision, did a ton of research (the information provided on this site was the most helpful) and made the decision to proceed.  

Dakota’s amputation was Tuesday, March 16.  The surgery lasted longer than expected, but otherwise he did great.  I had prepared myself for the worst, but when we picked him up on that Friday, he “hopped” toward me with tail wagging.  I was so grateful.  We did not experience any post surgery depression, and he came home with just Rimadyl as his pain med so he didn’t have the medication side effects the narcotics can cause.

By Tuesday, March 23, he was walking without our assistance (we were using a soft harness with long handles from drsfosterandsmith).  Within a few days after that he was able to rise from his bed and the floor without assistance.  Within 2 weeks of his surgery he was running and completely back to normal minus 12 pounds of a right leg!!  

We are now just over 3 weeks out and other than waiting for his hair to grow back in over the surgical site, he is the same as he was pre surgery.  He is pain free and doing great.  There has been no change in his personality, his appetite is the same and he is chasing his doxie sister in the back yard (not so much in the house due to slick wood and tile floors).  We are so glad we made the decision to proceed with amputation.  

Please don’t be afraid for your senior dog if you are faced with this decision.  If your senior is in great health and otherwise mobile but for the cancer diagnosis, go for it.  It may just give you the extra time you so desire and your lovely dog deserves.  We cherish each extra day we have with Dakota – things are so much better on three legs.  

 

As an aside and a suggestion – we have put clear rubber tub mats on the tile floor at the doors where Dakota goes in and out to get to the back yard to keep him from slipping as he pushes off from the threshold.  It has really helped his confidence with his footing.  We have only had one “fall” and as long as you don’t make a big fuss over it, it won’t affect the dog.   

Here and Now


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9 April 2010 - 7:56 pm
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Thank you fo joining and sharing Dakota’s recovery! Many come to tripawds wondering if their older dogs can handle amputation, and they need to hear stories like yours. Please keep us posted in this topic or consider starting a blog for Dakota.

We are sorry to hear about Dakota’s diagnosis, but we are happy to hear he is doing so well and look forward to following his progress.

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10 April 2010 - 9:56 am
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Dakota sounds like he’s doing awesome!  Yay!  And thanks for sharing the tip about the clear rubber mats at the doors – that’s a good idea!

Hugs,
Holly and Holly’s mom 

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

http://anyemery.....ipawds.com

Las Vegas, Nevada
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10 April 2010 - 3:09 pm
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That is fantastic about Dakota!  Thanks for posting all of your information and tips! 

Let’s a see a pic of your guy! I bet he’s a handsome fella!

 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Los Angeles
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10 April 2010 - 3:09 pm
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Welcome Dakota and Mom,

Your story gives many of our older tripawds so much hope. So glad to hear that Dakota’s doing so well after his surgery.  In fact, some of  our younger tripawds (including mine who’s 8 now) don’t do quite as well following the 2 weeks after surgery.  So this is very encouraging and we so appreciate you sharing your story. Maybe you can post some pictures of Dakota – we’d love to see what he looks like.  I’m sure a very handsome tripawd guy.  Keeping our paws crossed that Dakota continues to do well!

Kami (Mackenzie’s Mom)

 

My sweet golden Mackenzie.  She became my angel on Dec 29, 2010 at the age of 8 1/2  although she was always my angel from the time we brought her home.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Sept 2009 and officially became a tripawd (front leg) on Nov 5, 2009.  She will be forever in my heart and now she's running free with all of our other tripawd heroes.  I love you Mackenzie!

Storm
6
12 April 2010 - 3:42 am
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Awww welcome Dakota, another lab!!!  My dogs name is Koda (based off Dakota as my husband is from South Dakota) and he is a yellow lab.  Koda was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in July last year and is doing great. He is a front right amputee and like Dakota, Koda had a hurdle free recovery, which we were so greatful for!!!  Koda is 8 so he is starting his senior years as a tripawd.  Our main concern at the moment are his joints in his back legs as there are signs of arthritis starting so we are working on the chondroiton and glucosamine at the moment. 

Well we just wanted to say a big welcome and glad that Dakota is doing real well and bouncing around at the royal age of 12 as a new tripawd…

Storm and Koda 🙂

Storm
7
12 April 2010 - 3:44 am
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OOpps sorry the royal age of 13, my bad smile

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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12 April 2010 - 3:50 am
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I love hearing how well the seniors do, but it saddens me to think they get to that grand old age and then have to teach us to deal with this.

Dakota, you keep kicking cancer butt, I’m looking forward to many more wonderful updates.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Storm
9
12 April 2010 - 3:53 am
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I just read my post back and under the circumstances that we all meet here after something that rips our heart out over and over again, I wish I didn’t have to welcome you (because then your baby Dakota wouldn’t be in this situation), but I was so happy reading your story that he pulled through with flying colours especially with your concerns about his age that it came through in my message.  Kind of ironic huh, I love hearing the good stories on here but it sucks that we are all here as our babies are facing a fight!!!!  Is Dakota in remission?  I don’t know much about digit melanoma…  And if removing it is a cure????

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12 April 2010 - 4:24 pm
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Thanks for sharing Dakota’s story.  I am sure other people with senior dogs will be reassured by it.

Debra & Angel Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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14 April 2010 - 7:02 pm
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Thank you all so much for your kind words!  I would love to post some pics but don’t know how??  Any suggestions?  To answer one of the questions in the thread, we assume he is in “remission” since the cancer was confined to the foot which has been removed.  However, he has to undergo three month checks with chest x-ray and lymph node aspiration to check for melanoma return.  His first check up is in mid June.

He is really enjoying the great Memphis Spring weather, although our current crisis is the lack of hair over the surgical site that requires sunscreen when he wants to go outside and lay in the sunshine.  He now runs as fast as he can from me when he sees the spray can!  laughingWhile fast on three legs, he is not quite fast enough to escape.  I really do appreciate all of the kind words and encouragement this site provides.  While I hate that I needed this site, I am so glad I found it.  

Here and Now


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14 April 2010 - 8:05 pm
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labmom said:

I would love to post some pics but don’t know how??  Any suggestions?  


 

Here are detailed instructions for adding images to forum posts. The easiest way to share photos is to start a blog for Dakota where you can upload them here. Otherwise, the images must be hosted somewhere online so you can use the Insert Image button (small tree icon) and paste the image file location in the URL field. Hope this helps.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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14 April 2010 - 9:26 pm
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Thanks for the update on Dakota!  I sure hope that nothing else comes up.   Good luck with the sunscreen!  That would be a good picture for us to see.  In the meantime, post a profile pic (we call it avatar).  Just click the “Profile” button on the top right and find the link in small print that says, “Your Tripawd Dashboard” and just follow the instructions.

 

Storm, my husband is from South Dakota, too.  From Martin. Let’s hope we aren’t married the the same guy!!!  surprised

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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22 May 2010 - 10:07 am
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I wanted to update that Dakota is still doing great!  We had an unexpected milestone yesterday when I walked into one of the upstairs bedrooms and found him laying on the floor!  He had somehow climbed 14 steps to the second floor!  Quite proud of himself but my concern was getting him back down!  It took both my husband and I to coax him back down the stairs but we made it.  I never imagined I would have to block the stairs from his access, but Dakota clearly thinks he can go and do as he pleases and as he did with 4 legs!  Still trying to get updated pics off the camera to post, but I was able to upload a pre-surgery pic as the avatar.  

 

Here and Now


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22 May 2010 - 10:53 am
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Thanks for the great update! Glad to hear Dakota is doing so well.

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