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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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Worried about my dog :(
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Member Since:
23 July 2013
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23 July 2013 - 9:23 pm
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My 10 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/lab(?) mix just had his left front leg amputated yesterday due to osteosarcoma.  We were hoping he could come home today but they want to keep him at least one more night.  Went to visit him tonight.  He wasn't interested in eating for them but did eat for me.  It was so hard to see him so unhappy, scared and uncomfortable.  As I write this I am trying not to cry.  He is definitely my baby.  I have never loved a pet the way I love this dog. Anyway, after reading some of the forum posts, I am hopeful that he will be doing better in a couple of weeks.  Getting rugs tomorrow to help him on our tile kitchen floor.  Honestly when the vet said they adapt very easily, I assumed he would be up and ready to come home today...not so much what-ever  I will try to post so everyone knows how he is doing. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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24 July 2013 - 9:59 am
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Welcome! Your future forum posts will not require moderation. Is Bentley your dog's name?

It's OK to cry, just never in front of him as he will follow your lead and needs a strong balanced pack leader now to show him that life will be fine. Consider it a good thing if your vet wants to keep him another day, it means they are concerned about his care and he is likely in good hands. All dogs are different but the vast majority will adapt quickly—most manage better than we people do!

The first couple weeks will indeed have ups and downs. Much of the roller coaster ride has to pain management but don't underestimate the power of pawsitive thinking. Try to take things one day at a time and be more dog.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

24 July 2013 - 1:55 pm
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Welcome to Tripawds.
Honestly when the vet said they adapt very easily, I assumed he would be up and ready to come home today…not so much what-ever
I had the same type of reaction. My little pug Maggie was really stubborn and did not seem happy at all for a long time.  I convinced myself that I had done the wrong thing for her by choosing amputation. The only guidance my vet gave me was that MOST dogs do fine on three I was thinking 'oh great, MOST but not MINE!!'. 
Maggie took longer than most, but she came around on her own time line.  Two to three weeks seems to be the norm, with lots of ups and downs. This is a huge, major surgery.  Most dogs are hopping the day of or the day after surgery.  When you think about that it is really stunning.  I've had some pretty invasive orthopedic surgeries and I can say that Mag recovered from her amp way faster than I did from my surgeries!!
The vet keeping him one more night is a good thing, they will get his pain meds dialed in, and you can get some rest.  This is really important as the next couple weeks will be draining.  But- there is a light at the end and you did the right thing getting rid of that awful pain.  Bentley will get better and soon will be amazing you!

Member Since:
22 February 2013
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24 July 2013 - 2:46 pm
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Yeah, ditto all of the above!

Karen's responses to me whe K was going through this....alng with sooooooo many others....helped me keey my sanity!! Some dogs DO recover quicker than others! Mine was NOT o n the "fast track train"....just like Karen's pug! Knowing tht not all bounce back so quicky helped me realize that was all well within the bonds of "normal"

Not eating, not hopping arund yet after just 24 hrs.....all perfecty normal.....especially for medium large dogs! And Bentley is sooooo doed up now, he probavly could give a rip whether he's walking or not! Many vets keep dogs 48 hrs. plus. Quinta....a dog who had his amutatin i Japan....has been in hospital almost a week because that's the normal protocal over there!! I think porter was in for several days So, that means you can get good rest because yu might.....or might not....have a few sleepless nights when he comes home!!

It's been over five months since Hapy Hannah's amoutatin and she and K could not be happier!! This from somene who was practically on the floor hysterical (actuallu...out in the car so she wouldn't see me) for weeks bwfore the amp and probaby two weeks after. That was then! This is now! BEST DECISION ever!! More joy and happiness than I ever thought possible!! think you have a bond now? Ohhhhhh, it's gonna' get even more incredible!

Stay conected tomus! We are here for you! You are not alone!!

Look forward to updates. And when you can.....PICTURES OF BENTLEY!:-) :-) We love pictures!


Sally and Happy Hannah

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!

Columbia, MO
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10 December 2011
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24 July 2013 - 7:57 pm
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I'm sorry about the OSA diagnosis. Your pup is gonna do great!  And they do adapt really quickly.  He was probably more likely high on pain meds than actually unhappy.  They give them the good stuff after surgery but it can make them act strange.  I'm glad he ate some food for you.  When Daisy came home post amp I couldn't get her to eat her regular kibble & canned food.  I had to boil her chicken and that's pretty much what she ate for the first week and not a lot of it.  Hotdogs too since that is what I hid her pain meds in.

Be prepared as the first couple of weeks can be rough with lots of ups and downs.  When they first get home they will usually act pretty much like their old selves but then crash and you will start to second guess your decision.  Slowly Bentley (that's his name, right?) will start to shine thru again.

Amputation is a major surgery and they just need lots of rest and very limited activity.  They start using muscles they probably never knew they had so he might be kind of sore from using them.  My Daisy is pretty much a slug so I didn't have a hard time keeping her from overdoing it too soon.

Best of luck with the recovery and keep us posted!

Marla and Daisy


My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Member Since:
1 February 2013
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25 July 2013 - 10:02 pm
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Welcome to our site and sorry for the diagnosis that brought you here. Consider it a good thing that the vet kept him one extra night. I think it really helps with the pain management as the vets do not panic the way those of us that love them do. As everyone has said, the next couple of weeks are the most difficult, but you will also have small triumphs and glimmers of their normal self.

My favorite piece of advice is to get an elevated food bowl. It just makes eating so much easier for them. Shooter thought I was crazy the first time I fed him in it, but figured if it was food it must be ok.

Stay strong for Bentley and make sure and take care of yourself too.

Come here anytime you need someone to listen or help.

Luanne and Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

Lancaster, PA
Member Since:
17 May 2013
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26 July 2013 - 6:41 am
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I'm glad you found this supportive site. I would have been lost without them. 

I actually had the exact opposite happen. Barret was up and moving around too much the first few days, which meant that he was even more sore and miserable for weeks than necessary. 

Taking it easy isn't a bad thing, necessarily. It will be a rough few weeks, but you will get through it and you will be so glad afterwards when you see how they can thrive on 3 legs. 


Good luck, Heather & Barret

Barret was diagnosed with Hemangiopericytoma May 16, 2013. Front left leg/scapula/pectoral muscle was amputated on June 11, 2013 and we've never looked back. Follow our story on and read my column on That Pet Blog

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23 July 2013
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26 July 2013 - 12:31 pm
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Hi Bentleyinoregon, well my Taffy, had his front leg amputated on 7/22, one day before, and I read that it's quite common for vets to keep them ovn, we took ours home, as our vet doesn't do ovn, and feels they do better with their normalcy. I guess you have your doggie home now, and I'm sure he's made some progress, just keep smiling, and petting, encouraging him, and loving, and kisses don't hurt, he'll be fine. Read my story under 15 yr old Cocker Spaniel, believe me, my dog has endured so much, and he's going to be just fine too. Good luck, and hope to hear good news soon,smiley

New Jersey
Member Since:
25 May 2013
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30 July 2013 - 2:58 am
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Welcome to this site. Sorry your here since its a difficult diagnosis to get. It's a great support group so keep posting. The first two weeks can be tough , with getting pain meds right and just the healing process. Be patient even though we all know its not easy to be, but you will see how remarkable they are in healing and getting on with life. Rest when you can so you keep up your energy also. Good luck coming home and take one day at a time.

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