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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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When to start rehab..
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
6 September 2015
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26 September 2015 - 10:39 am
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Hi all…firstly, Stella Belle is doing really well.  She’s hopping around fairly comfortably, and is eating voraciously (honestly, nothing new there!).

We started chemo last Monday, and she’s handled her first treatment pretty well.  We had one morning of nausea, which was remedied quickly with medication.  She has been tired – but I honestly believe that is more of a combination of post-amputation AND chemo, as opposed to just because of the chemo.

Stella tires very easily.  She just doesn’t seem to have much stamina – in the morning, we bring her downstairs, feed her breakfast and take her outside to potty.  By the time she gets outside, she’s exhausted and has a difficult time stabilizing herself to potty.  This has been an ongoing struggle anyway, but it is particularly bad in morning, and evening, after she has been standing for a few minutes, to eat.

Stella’s remaining knee is compromised, having had an operation to repair a TKL about five years ago.  I definitely think this is causing her additional difficulty – and probably some discomfort – now that she is relying entirely on that leg to move her along, and stabilize her back end.

I know I want to start rehab with her, but I’m not sure when the best time is to do that.  I am worried about pushing her too hard, too soon, but I see her struggle and feel her frustration and discomfort.  I know some exercise would help build strength and in turn, help with pain and stability. 

If other senior tripawd parents could reply with their experiences, and suggestions, I would appreciate it!

Thanks so much!

Stacey & Sweet Stella Belle

PS:  Happy birthday, Stella Belle!  She is 12 years old, today big-grin

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Member Since:
12 March 2013
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26 September 2015 - 12:30 pm
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Wow, Stella! Twelve years old and rocking it!

We contacted our rehab vet for her input on when Murphy should go for treatment. That might be the place to start, as I am sure that there are differences between those specialists on which time is better and what the course of treatment should be. You might be able to have Stella evaluated in order to establish the proper time. Murphy was set to start his first rehab session when his remaining rear hip dislocated (again…it was dislocated in his accident, too). We ended up putting it off a couple of times, as he became a chronic dislocater. After his total hip replacement we had to wait four months for the implant to grow into the bone, so we were definitely out of the ordinary.

As I said, though, I think I would check with your rehab vet for input.

Kathi and the Turbotail April Angel…and the Labradork

Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

The Rainbow Bridge

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26 September 2015 - 3:18 pm
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HOPPY BIRTHDAY STELLA BELLE! We’re pawtying in your honor!

Great feedback Kathi, thanks. If anyone knows about rehab it’s you 🙂

I would talk to your vet and get the referral now. When you meet with the rehab vet they will determine what course of rehab to take, and if she’s not ready for “working out” they can do other things to prepare her for it, like gentle massage and range of motion exercises. Just make sure the rehab vet is CCRT or CCRP certified so you know you’re getting the most up to date, safe care.

Let us know who your vet refers you to, you’re in a great area for canine rehab!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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