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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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See the Tripawd Dogs 2024 Quality of Life Survey Results
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The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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3 April 2024 - 3:33 am
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If you are in the tough spot of wondering whether or not amputation for a dog is worth it, the Tripawd Dogs 2024 Quality of Life Survey Results slideshow is worth checking out.

Watch the Results: 2024 Tripawd Dogs Quality of Life Survey Responses from Members

Late last year, we asked the Tripawds community for help with three new Quality of Life Surveys that examined what the three-legged life is like for pet parents and their dog or cat. There was one survey for dogs, another for cats, and a third one for people who chose to adopt a Tripawd. Once again this community came through with helpful insight about:

  • Life before amputation
  • Why their cat or dog needed amputation
  • What recovery was like
  • And whether or not they would do it again.

Here are the results in a brief slide show. Keep reading for more fascinating insight from the surveys.

Watch the Tripawd Dogs 2024 Quality of Life Survey Recap

Amputation pain management for dogs still has a long way to go.

The type of pain management dogs were given was very insightful. It saddens us that only about 30 percent of dogs received Gabapentin for nerve pain, and even more shocking was that nearly 20 percent of dogs still come home with Tramadol, a drug proven to be ineffective for managing acute surgical pain.

Pain medications for dogs amputation surgery recovery

Some of the most fascinating insight came from the written responses provided to certain questions such as:

"Knowing what you now know, if given the choice again today, would you do the amputation again? Why or why not?"

Once again the majority of Tripawd parents said yes they would choose amputation if they had to, for reasons such as:

Yes, depending on circumstances. She showed me the fear was on me in the long run.

Yes, absolutely. The recovery period was more emotionally and physically intense than I expected, but I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat under the same circumstances.

Yes, as long as finances permitted. Amputation gave her a chance to have extended quaility pain free life. It also gave her a chance to maybe even beat this crap disease. It gave me the chance to master the art of living in the moment and celebrate each day we had together with no worries avout the tomorrows. I knew I would second guess myself if I didn't give her that chance

Yes, but I wish such a rosey picture wouldn't have been painted about post-surgery and healing. It was really tough and she still is adapting. If I would have had a more realistic picture of what the first weeks would be like, I think it wouldn't have been so hard. I am so glad that I have a flexible job and was able to stay home with her for a couple weeks, so I would encourage folks to think about how their work and other commitments may impact your ability to care for your animal post-surgery.

Out of 144 responses to the question, only two said no they would not choose amputation, or weren't sure if they would for these reasons:

No- would not. Physically she is ok. Mentally she is sad and doesn’t do the things she used to love to do like play ball and go for walks

Not sure. She has really had to give up a lot of the things she loved (playing with friends, tug war, running a lot). She still seems happy but it's hard to know that she'll never be fully herself again.

We hope this helps provide good information for pet parents considering amputation for their dog. If you want to know what cat parents think about the Tripawd life, don't miss our very detailed results from the 2024 Tripawd Cats Quality of Life Survey.

Watch this space for our third and final 2024 Tripawd Quality of Life Survey, All About Adopted Tripawd Pets.

Thanks to everyone who makes our community so helpful by participating in this kind of informal research!


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 April 2024 - 12:53 pm
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Well done!  Great slideshow 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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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4 April 2024 - 11:30 am
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Aww thank you Sally! It took more time than we wanted but we're getting 'em done!

Member Since:
3 August 2012
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4 April 2024 - 1:37 pm
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Great info! Interesting that "most" tripawds are front amputees, as in my experience there aren't many assistance products designed toward front amputees.

Cooper (11/11/11 - 3/29/24) was a hound-collie mix "mutt" who was badly injured as a puppy and lost his leg at 7 months of age.  We adopted him after the operation.  He' was wonderful companion and comforting presence in our family for 12 years. He lived a fabulous life on three legs and was an inspiration to all. We will never forget our Coopie-Doopie-Doo.

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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5 April 2024 - 11:42 am
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Thanks Kathy!

It did confirm that we tend to see most Tripawds in our community are missing a front limb. But yeah it would be great if a company did start creating a harness just for front-leggers! We keep nudging them.

Member Since:
4 April 2019
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5 April 2024 - 6:54 pm
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I saw it on your YouTube Channel!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 April 2024 - 12:32 pm
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LOL you did? Well gosh it's nice someone's watching, thanks Nancy!

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