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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
14 November 2018
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30 November 2018 - 2:32 pm
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My foster Roobee is 6 weeks out from amputation of her right rear leg.  She still will not walk.  I have taken her to rehab a couple of times.  Today the therapist told me that she is physically capable of walking - her problem is in her head and that physical therapy is not helping her.  She will stand and even take a couple steps from time to time but no more than that.  I immediately praise her every time she does it, I give lots of hugs and kisses but as soon as I put my hand on her rear harness she lifts her back leg and nearly runs with her front legs, expecting me to carry her back end.  I have tried tough love  - walking away and leaving her standing alone in the yard but instead of trying to walk she drags herself. Might a wheelchair help her learn to trust her back leg without me carrying her or will I be doing more harm than good?way-confused

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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30 November 2018 - 3:58 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Roobee.

Glad we had a chance to chat, and happy you got an appointment with the certified rehab vet. The second opinion will certainly help!

Here are those links again.

The Maggie Moo Fund offers veterinary rehab reimbursement from the Tripawds Foundation .

There are starter exercises you can do to get Roobee strong and excited about rehab.

Loving Life On Three Legs is filled with many more tips and videos.

And the many Tripawds News blog posts about wheelchairs for Tripawds.

Hope this helps! Please keep us posted. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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30 November 2018 - 9:10 pm
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What was the reason for your sweet girl's amputation?  Was it a car accident,  or something  that could have done other damage that is yet undetected??  Does she show any signs of pain?  If you massage up and down her spine, her neck area, any sign of tenseness?

To me, it just doesn sound right that, "it's in her head".  I do hope you take the Admin Guy's advice and get a second d Rehab opinion. 

I do know one of our beloved Angel's, Subborn Pug Maggie, took about six weeks to start to really adjust to three legs.  She didn't  like change and yes, she was a very stubborn  pup!

If you know, what was her activity level like during the first week or two of recovery?  How old is she?

What's  her attitude  like overall? Happy, pll6ayful, engaged, etc?

Have things been ruled out like ligament tears, knee damage, etc, etc?  I know I'm  asking a lot of questions and not offering any suggestions!

Please stay connected  and let us know how things are going.  Hopefully  a second Rehab Spec can help you get this figured out.


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie 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!

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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30 November 2018 - 10:10 pm
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Hi and welcome.

First I want to thank you for fostering- foster parents are amazing in my book!

How old is Roobee? It's hard to tell from your avatar but she looks young.  You say a rear harness- what type do you have? You might try taking off the harness she has on her back end and see how she does. I'm wondering if she has 'learned' to wait to walk until you are helping her. 

You could also keep the harness but keep her from moving her front end until she puts down her back leg.  Hold the harness and put some yummy treats a few steps in front of her and make her walk to them. 

Try a front end harness so you can help her balance but are not holding up the back end.

A food puzzle might help also.  I'm thinking if she is trying to figure something out on the floor it would make her head go down and her back end up. If she was focused on getting treats she might get up on three without thinking about it.  Something like this Twister game:

Elly-and-Dog-Twister-3_16.jpgImage Enlarger

I am Spirit TriPug Maggie's mom- she was stubborn and not very active during the first six weeks.  She was 7.5 years old and was actually hopping on her own the day of surgery- so a bit different from Roobee.

One thing that did happen was that she got used to being carried around by my parents- she spent lots of time after her surgery at their house.  My mom felt bad for her so carried her in and out of the house to the lawn.  Maggie 'learned' that if she just sat and waited my mom would come and carry her.  It took me awhile to break her of that habbit- including several 20 to 30 minute stand-offs with her waiting in the back yard.

Keep us posted.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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