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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Our Six year old Saint was recently diagnosed. He has no signs of disease as of yet. We think he is too large for amputation. He is 164lbs, Has anyone had success or amputated such a large dog?
Has anyone pursued palliative radiation or bisphophonate therapy?
Appreciate any input.
Hi Nancy, welcome. We are sorry your dog was diagnosed, I’m assuming with osteosarcoma? What’s his name?
It sounds like you caught the tumor early, that’s great. What does your vet think about his candidacy as a Tripawd? Have you gotten a second or even third opinion from board-certified orthopedic vets / oncologists? That really makes a difference. Also, what YOU think matters too, only you know if he is resilient enough to bounce back after surgery.
165 is not small but it’s also not unheard of to have giant breed dogs do well on three legs. We’ve had Danes, Mastiffs and Saints here, and while their recoveries weren’t always the easiest (in our experience it seems that giant breed dogs tend to take longer during recovery, they’re just so laid back), most of them did great. This forum is a great place to read about their stories. And if you search our Tripawds Blogs for “Saint Bernard” you’ll find examples there too.
Stay tuned, more folks will chime in soon.
22 February 2013
Just a quick “pictorial answer” to your question…
Another St. Bernard family member here did NOT have an amputation due to vaiois reasons. Hopefully his mom will chime in and tell you her protocol she used for treatment. He jas since gone to the Rainbow Bridge , but he got a lot of good quality time full of koving and spoiling!
Big Louie, a large Mastiff, jist went through amputation surgery and recovery. His recovery took a bit longer, but he is now a very happy boy and enjoying life.
I know this is a scary diagnosis. Remember that your pup doesn’t give a rip about any ole’ stupid dia and certainly isn’t worried about a thing. Statistics don’t mean much around here either! Take some deep breaths, do your research and let us knkw if we can help.
You are not alone, okay?
Hugs to all!
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!
18 October 2009
I’m sorry your pup is dealing with cancer. Is the cancer in a front or rear leg?
My Tripawds have been small so I can’t help you with the size decision but we have many giant breed dogs here who have done well. My direct experience is with my local pal Cemil, a 150 pound front amp Anatolian Shepard. Cemil is almost 6 years past his amp for osteosarcoma and still going. He got around fine when he was younger, I think he was 4 at the time of surgery. Now all that hopping means he can’t get too far, but he is still enjoying life around the house.
This is a tough decision, follow your heart and you will do right by your boy. No matter what you decide to do you are welcome here. As Sally said, we have had a few members for who amputation was not right. We will help any way we can.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Thank you Sally and Karen.
Andy’s front leg is affected. Besides being uber large (165lbs) Andy has a back leg that is compromised , so if we were going to consider an amp, he would have to be evaluated by a surgeon to see if it is even feasible.
We are considering some palliative measures, radiation, infusing the bone , and a new clinical trial that attacks the lungs because that seems to be where the cancer travels to quickest.
I have also heard that a raw or organ driven diet can help in fighting the cancer , because cancer likes sugar and carbs. Have you heard anything like this?
My heart hurts and I want my boy to live out whatever time he has left in the most happiest way possible.
I look forward to hearing from you , and other members.
That’s a great post Sally, thanks!
Your best bet right now is to consult with an oncologist and an orthopedic surgeon to see what they think. It’s not unheard of for a Tripawd to have arthritis or some other condition in other legs, as long as it’s manageable and not causing more pain.
Check out the Tripawds Nutrition blog for diet and nutrition information, but don’t get too overwhelmed. Right now focus on helping to alleviate that pain, it will get worse unfortunately and by the time dogs show symptoms it’s already excruciating (they are so stoic). Check out this blog post to make sure you’re monitoring his pain signals :
13 August 2015
I’m so sorry your diagnosis has brought you here. Andy sounds like a huge cuddle bug. I do think it would be well worth a visit to have Andy assessed to see if he might be a candidate for amputation. We had that done for our dog Max. He is a big 110# German Sheperd. It did turn out that his remaining back leg had some arthritis from an injury that they said was previous and not ongoing but they did still recommend amp surgery for him. We had it done almost twelve weeks ago and he’s doing really well. We do baby his remaining back leg and help him up when he’s seems to be struggling after an active day but he’s getting along great. We tend to have his activity now be more core strengthening exercises rather than long walks. Our primary goal was to get him out of walking on that painful leg. Mission accomplished and any time we get now going forward is a bonus. He’s back to being his bouncy happy self. You know your Andy best listen to your heart and any decision you make out of love can’t be wrong.
Linda & Max
16 October 2012
Welcome to the club that no one wants to join. Sassy was a 138 pound Rottie when she had her amputation. She was a right rear amputee but her cancer was in the leg that had the hip displaysia so we were kind of lucky that way. You have been given some good pointers and some good tips on readings. I definitely would consult some surgeons and get some opinions from them as well.
Keep us informed
Michelle & Angel Sassy
Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013
05/04/2006 - Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19 fought cancer for 4 months.
"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."