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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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Forum Posts: 40
Member Since:
13 June 2019
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30 June 2019 - 11:45 am
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Good morning Tripawds community.

I thought I would update you with my boy Max and our journey through osteosarcoma and amputation land.  At 2 1/2 weeks post surgery, Max is doing well.  Pain meds are down to twice a day.  Even before morning medications, Max lept out of my bed to join his dad and brother on the morning “get the paper” chore.  

That’s right – you heard that correctly.  Max is jumping onto my bed and sleeping where he wants to sleep – with me.  Tearing up as I write.

He is very tall, so his leap is more like step up with the good leg and then hop with the back legs, but a little leap is still a leap.

Max and I were luckier than most.  We had a rough start because I was emotionally unprepared for what this would be like.  I only found this community in desperation when I had Max back the day after surgery.

There is no sugar coating the fact that the first week or two post op is hard.  My memories are acid etched, and it will take time for those memories to soften, if ever.   Not withstanding, I am so grateful to have Max here with me.

Some take aways from this:

1 – I knew the literature.  When I heard osteosarcoma, I knew the leg needed to come off.  I did not wait.  2 weeks after diagnosis, (even before confirmatory pathology), the leg was removed.  As these dogs are older, there is no benefit to letting the disease weaken them as we delay the decision.  Fast and decisive is best – IMHO

2 – Be very comfortable with medicating your dog as needed and with having the recovery phase organized.  They need to be confined, they need rest, and medicating pain is key.  Untreated pain delays healing with the release of stress hormones and disturbed sleep.  Tissue repair happens during sleep, so make sure the dog gets good quality rest.

3 – Have emotional support.  I cannot overemphasize how important this community was for my sanity and thus, Max’s well being.

4 – Be patient.  There will be setbacks – good days and not so good days.  

5 – Have faith.  Trust your love for your pet and his/her love for you.   You make these decisions out of love and you live it out with them.

I know that I will have to say good by to Max in the future.  I have no idea how long that will be, but I will be grateful for each day.  Each day with this amazing animal is a gift. When the time comes to say goodby, I will be heartbroken, but NOT today.

Peace and love to you all

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 25986
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 June 2019 - 1:29 pm
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Oh my dog you are making tears well up in MY eyes! And they are HOPPY TEARS! Thank you for sharing your insights about Max’s recovery. You as an oncology nurse have such an informed and wise perspective on the medical aspect, we truly appreciate what you’ve shared about that side of the story. And we are so relieved that our community could help you cope with emotional side. YAY!

Remind me, did you decide on doing chemotherapy or are you opting out? No right or wrong answers of course, I’m just curious since you work in the field.

How about more Max photos? I want to see your beautiful boy! Oh and his brother too! 

Super duper news, what a great report.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 40
Member Since:
13 June 2019
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30 June 2019 - 2:32 pm
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I decided against chemotherapy.  It would involve a 4 hour drive to and from in addition to treatment time as well as any time required to recover from treatment.  Max has never been a big fan of car rides and I am not going to waste any precious moment of quality time with Max.  

There are limitations to medicine and we are not put on this planet to stay. I am going to make sure he is comfortable and happy, and when the time comes to send him across the bridge, he will tell me.

Everyone makes their own best decisions about these things.  This is right for us.  Your mileage may vary.

I will post more photos soon.   Love to you all.

new hampshire
Forum Posts: 183
Member Since:
26 June 2019
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30 June 2019 - 8:06 pm
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Jumping to get on the bed & sleep with mom! Oh my yes!!! 🎉🎉 So glad to hear that max is doing well with his recovery! Lots of love and more good days to come. 

Big hugs,

Bev & Roane🐾🐶

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.


Forum Posts: 18076
Member Since:
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30 June 2019 - 8:55 pm
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We need to embede your first thread into this thread.  That way people can really, really, really understand  how rhe fear, the uncertainty and exhaustion had ALMOST made you believe Max would never get better.  Well, we’ll just let anyone read those posts  to see how close you came to throwing in the towel.  

I KNOW that is not a time you want to  revisit.  However, it is so important for anyone facing  rhe depth of despair and hopelessness that you did those early days of recovery to see that RECOVERY  DOESN’T  LAST FOREVER!!!  And you were brave enough to stay connected,  brave enough to reach out to us, brave enough to trust us when we gave you our indight based on our first-hand experience.

And look at Max now!!! Look at you now, reaching out to others to let them know that recoveries don’t  last furever!!!! Anyone reading your Sage advise now would never believe how close you were to jumping  off the edge into rhe abyss!  Amd now you are a teacher to the students!!! BRAVO!!!

Well thought out and beautifully  articulated  post.



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!

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