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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On behalf of new user Jeffromnc, I have created a new topic for this post as it warrants its own discussion…
I have a new litter of american eskimo pups, one of them has a malformed front leg, and can’t use it. The leg is shorter and curled up against the body (a vet looked at it and said it’s pretty much gone and will likely be amputated when he grows up. I’ve tried exercising the arm, and it’s not going anywhere. But it looks like that if it had a prostetic, a peg, it may be able to be more mobile. It’s hobbling around some.
I was wondering if there was anyone else on here that had a 3-leg pup as well, to get some advice, moral support. OR if there’s anyone else on here that has any input, please, feel free!!!
Thanks and i look forward to hearing from you
I didn’t lose my leg until I was nine years old so I don’t have any experience direct with tripawd puppies. But I have read of puppies born with three legs who gre up and led perfectly normal lives.
Hopefully others will have more helpful comments.
31 March 2008
They are the coolest pups and the 3-leg one hasn’t missed a meal yet. they’re starting to eat puppy food now, and i know what that means…i’m not at the end of my rope yet, but i’ve got some friends that help me too.
i’ll be glad to post a pic, if you’ll tell me how. i looked at all the buttons, and i can’t find it. thanks!
You can submit photos through our contact form. Otherwise, the image must be hosted somewhere online for you to insert it into your forum post using the "Insert/Edit Image" button ().
I was just 11 weeks old when my front right leg was amputated after it was shattered in a fall in my first home. July 1 I will be seven months old and the losing the leg hasn’t slowed me down one bit!
My new paretns picked me up at the surgeon’s office three days after surgery and were very surprised that I came bounding out of the treatment room on the end of a lead. They thought I would have to be carried very gently.
I do everything that normal puppies do – run, jump, play and wrestle. I’ve even started learning how to swim!
The tagline for tripawds.com – It’s better to hop on three legs than limp on four! – certainly is true. I may not have four legs, but I also don’t have the pain of the bad leg either. So, in my case, amputation was the best thing! If you make the decision to have the pup’s leg amputated, I hope that he has similar results. In the three months since the amputation, I’ve met a few other tripawds and had several people tell me stories of tripawds they’ve loved in the past. The one thing that all of these dogs (and in one case a cat) had in common was that the amputation gave them a better quality of life and eased their pain.
July 1 I will be seven months old and the losing the leg hasn’t slowed me down one bit!
Thanks for the inspawration Gidget! Your comments are appreciated
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28 May 2008
Hi Gidget – wow you have wonderful new pawrents…how did you find them? They sound awsome 🙂
Mom says that us tripawds are pretty special souls – I happen to agree 🙂
Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together
26 January 2008
16 June 2008
Hi Gidget – wow you have wonderful new pawrents…how did you find them?
I am pretty lucky to have my parents. Of course, they tell everyone they’re lucky to have me. I think they’re right!
Anyway, this is the story of how I found my parents and became Gidget:
When my leg was broken (I was thrown down a flight of steps), my family relinquished me to a very nice no-kill shelter (whew!). The medical staff at the shelter knew that no matter what the surgeon at the local veterinary specialty hospital determined was the best course of treatment I would need a medical foster home.
My parents volunteer as dog handlers at this shelter. Some of the shelter’s staff knew that my parents have had rescued and special needs American Cocker Spaniels for the past 20 years, so they asked my parents if they would medically foster me while I recovered from treatment.
My parents fell in love with me immediately and asked if they could adopt me – as long as I got along with their other, very elderly cocker spaniel. It took a few weeks for him to succumb to my charms, but eventually he accepted me. So, as soon as I was cleared by the orthopedic surgeon, a doctor at the shelter spayed me and I officially became Gidget the next day! (My name at the shelter was Tawanda. Gidget fits me much better!)
I think that you’re Mom is right – tripawds are pretty special souls. How did you become a tripawd?
Three Paws Forever!
4 August 2008
I also have a puppy that wa born withe 3 legs. He is five weeks old now and doing fairly well. He can stand and sit but hasn’t quite figured out how to walk. Any tips or suggestions would be apprecitaed. I have a swimming pool if you think that would help. My vet’s sister is planning on adopting him and she works with disabled children – so he should have a wonderful home
26 July 2008
I didn’t have a 3 legged pup but did have one with growth plate inflamation that made him temporarily 3 legged at 8 weeks old. One of the problems we had was that my husband would pick him uip and carry him everywhere. As long as he was doing this the pup was not learning how to do things on his own. And… the effects of this coddling on his personality are still visible this day (he is 2 years old now).
It’s so easy to feel like we need to help all the time with the little ones. This just makes it harder for them to learn about mobility on their own. You need to try very hard to treat him like all of the other pups. It sounds like he’s doing well in the food department so the rest should fall into place for him if he’s given the chance to do it on his own.
I also have a puppy that wa born withe 3 legs.
Hi K9nKid. Your puppy sounds like a wonderful little guy! We would love to hear more about him. Do you have any photos?
Five weeks old is pretty young. He will get the "Tripawd Hop" down in no time, as his body develops and he gets strong.
When he gets a little older, swimming is great exercise for him. Jerry loves it, as you can see on his videos page.
Here is a good article that talks about teaching dogs to swim.
Like Borzoid says, don’t worry too much about teaching him how to get along. He has a huge advantage, being born with three legs, and the learning curve will be practically nothing compared to dogs that suddenly lose a leg. Your puppies’ pack will teach him what he needs to know as far as mobility and such.
Good luck! And remember to keep us posted, we’d love to see pictures!
Well, my puppy, though not born three legged, had her amputated at 3 months of age. She was brought into the vet I work at with a swollen front right leg, with the explination that the owners daugher had fallen on her. The previous owner had never had a dog before (HER name was Baxter, and "he" was covered in fleas). He was unprepared for the cost of fixing a broken front leg, and even more unprepared when we informed him that in order to attempt to save her leg, she would need to go to a specialist since her growth plate was broken in about 4 or 5 places. Her previous owner asked us if we would euthanize, and after informing him that we would not even consider the option, we offered to take care of her relieving him of the cost for treatment. Thankfully he agreed.
None of the doctors at my work are specialist when it comes to the type of surgery she needed, so the descision was made to completely amputate her front right leg, shoulder blade and all. After the first few weeks my fiance and I decided that she was about the happiest, cutest puppy we’d seen and decided to take her home. Since then she has been great, it took her a few months to learn how to balance herself properly and to build up muscle in her front left leg, but now it’s been about a year since her surgery and she has never, not even once, had a problem related to her missing leg. She runs, jumps, plays and generally lives life to the fullest every day. Out neighbors love her, and she is well know at work. Missing one leg has not bothered her and she doesn’t even know she’s missing one. She probably has no memory of ever having a forth leg anyways. Occasionally we have some people who see her and feel sorry for her, thinking somehow that the missing leg has impaired her life, but trust me, she has thrived. She loves all the attention she gets. I guess the point of this tread, is never underestimate your dog. They handle things so much better than any of us ever would, give them the chance, and they’ll go far beyond your expectations. The only caution I would give, is make sure they grow up at a healthy weight. Keeping Trillian at a healthy weight now is vitally important now that she’s over a year old. I want to prevent any arthritis as much as possible. Not sure if this post helped, but I was happy to share.
I guess the point of this tread, is never underestimate your dog. They handle things so much better than any of us ever would, give them the chance, and they’ll go far beyond your expectations
Oh what a beautiful thing to say! And we love, love your story, thank you so much for sharing. Do you have any photos you want to post? We’d love to see some!
Yeah, I always laugh when people feel sorry for me. I’m like "Duh, I’ve still got one more leg than YOU!"
And you’re right, maintaining weight is very, very important. Extra weight means more work for us to get around, and who needs that?
You sound like a wonderful pawrent and a beautiful person, thank you for finding us.