TRIPAWDS: Home to 20062 Members and 2005 Blogs.

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.

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!


Be More DogWhat does it mean to Be More Dog?

Find out in Be More Dog: Learning to Live in the Now by Tripawds founders Rene and Jim. Learn life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Get the book and find fun gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Alternatives to Amputation for Older Pups
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Member Since:
26 August 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 4:25 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

What a great forum!  Thank you for such a wonderful, in-depth resource!

My beautiful 13 year old great dane mix was just diagnosed with osteosarcoma and a pathological front leg fracture.  She's had another recent bout of cancer on her jaw, and it looks like there is some incidental degeneration in her spine too, so we don't want to take her through an amputation or chemo.  Unless someone tells me it can give her 3 more years - then I'm in!!!

For now, she simply has Tramadol and Rimadyl.

Does anyone have experience with the amputation/chemo program with older, giant breeds? Splinting procedures?  Eddie's wheels for non-amputees?  Or any alternative that can help a spunky little old grrrl enjoy her next steps?

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 4:59 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Sorry to hear about your pup. What's her name? There are plenty of topics in these forums discussion forums about senior dogs, hopefully you'll here from others with advice based on their experiences. If not use the search button above and be sure to check out Nova's blog – she's a seven year old blind three legged Dane who is nearly three years past her amputation.

Best wishes with the decisions you face. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 5:00 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

PS: You might consider asking your vet about bisphosphonates for bone cancer when amputation is not an option.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

San Diego, CA
Member Since:
29 October 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 5:46 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory sp_QuotePost

Hi – welcome to the site no one wants to join but you'll be glad you did.

There is a woman with a big dog (I'm not sure of the breed, but I know the dog, Jane, is older and a heavy-ish dog) on the 'artemisinin_and_cancer' Yahoo group who did not do an amp or chemo and only did holistic medicines. She is having great luck with Jane and I believe they are at a year out (maybe more??) and Jane is even able to put some weight on her bad leg again.

Jane gets a lot of supplements and I believe a very strict anti-cancer diet, but it sounds as though the main weapon in her arsenal is the artemisinin. If you go on Yahoo Groups and search for 'artemisinin_and_cancer' you can request to join the group. From there, once you are in on the Yahoo Group's page, look for the "Files" on the left – and you'll see a folder called something like "A guide to hope, health and insomnia" that says "Jane's protocol" underneath.

I'm not saying it's a miracle cure – (well, I kinda hope it is cuz I have my own dog on the stuff, having started recently after doing amp & chemo and still getting lung mets…sigh) but it might be worth looking into. Artemisinin has been used for years to treat malaria so it is well known to have very few side effects.

All the best with your grand old great dane.

Jackie, Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Member Since:
14 January 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 8:21 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I know it's not exactly what you are asking, but there is an option for palliative radition treatment that might help reduce the inflammation and tumor. I don't know how it works when there's a fracture involved, but it might be worth looking into..


You can read about Buddy here. We lost him just over a year ago, but I really believe that he beat the cancer through the use of palliative radition, it was just one of the side-effects of the study drug that got to him.


Welcome to the community!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
26 August 2011 - 9:04 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I'm sorry to hear about your beautiful Great Dane mix. It's so hard on the older ones and heart-wrenching to say the least. 

Has the vet suggested prednisone (steroids)?  (not to take with Rimadyl) Or even at this juncture, what about heavy human pain killers? That would make her more comfortable.  


I don't want to sound unkind here, but bone cancer is unbelievably painful.  The strongest drugs in humans can't take the hurt away. We promote amputations to eliminate the pain for OSA.    If your beautiful Great Dane mix has bone cancer, a fracture and is 13 years of age - well past her life span;  it would be time to have a heart to heart talk with her.  I would never suggest this if the pain wasn't so incredibly painful in bone cancer.  And putting her through surgery would be a terrible thing for a very geriatric dog.


As hard as it is to let go (and we know), a good portion of dogs usually die of cancer since there isn't such a thing as old age dying in dogs.  We have to dig deep and become incredibly unselfish when they get in this much pain.

Sending you warm and peaceful thoughts.

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.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
27 August 2011 - 7:22 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I am so sorry you are facing this with your sweet old gal. I am an advocate for amputation where osteosarcoma is involved. That said, you have other circumstances that must come into play. Thirteen is OLD for a dane, for any large breed. And the other cancer and degenerative disease in the spine. That just really makes the decision a tough one for you.

I would do two things. Get a second opinion and schedule a long heart to heart consult with the vet you feel the closest connection to. You are going to need a super vet to help you through this, someone truly in your corner fighting the fight right along with you.

Make your choices based on quality of life for your best buddy. Making the choices with her best interest in mind you cannot go wrong. Sending you lots of good thoughts as you face this decision.

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.

Member Since:
26 August 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
27 August 2011 - 12:25 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

You are all so helpful and beautiful!  Thank you!!!  I checked back in this morning hoping for even one lead or tidbit of perspective, and I'm overwhelmed by your kindness and all the great information.  

Jerry, Abbysmom and Ted, thank you for the links and insights - we will certainly be exploring everything that can improve her quality of life and decrease pain.

Cometdog and Hugapitbull, thank you for you honesty and kindness in looking out for Shannon's best interests.  I spend all day every day with her, and my husband and I are keeping a "Pawspice" diary of her eating, breathing, mobility and happiness.  So far, mobility is her biggest challenge, but we are noticing changes.  The diary does force some realism. I just pray I see the moment before everything turns for her, so I can save her the worst while giving her every last lovely moment she can enjoy.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: chunks2019
Guest(s) 94
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1184
Members: 14977
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 17566
Posts: 244805
Administrators: admin, jerry, Tripawds
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.