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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Difficulty sitting two weeks post amputation
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Member Since:
4 May 2023
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10 May 2023 - 10:10 pm
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Hi all, first time posting here (though this community has been awesome and so informative!). My dog, Beelzepup, had his back leg amputated almost exactly two weeks ago. He's a 3 year old chihuahua mix who's otherwise healthy. We're giving him 100mg of gabapentin in the morning and evening and 50 in the afternoon along with half a regular dose of meloxicam. He generally seems comfortable and is recovering well - we're keeping his activity levels low but he's walking around just fine and has even gone back to jumping around when we aren't able to stop him. But he's still not able to sit normally, especially on hard surfaces. He'll try a few times but then pop back up as if it's hurting, and then sit sideways on his other leg. And this morning I accidentally poked the amputation site and got a sharp yelp from him. I know it's not been very long, but we're supposed to get his sutures removed tomorrow so I'm not sure if he's supposed to be fully healed yet or not. Is it normal for the amputation site to still be sore? Is there anything potentially worrying I should be looking out for? I'm going to bring this up to the vet as well but thought I'd check here in case there's specific issues I should be asking the vet about. Thanks! 

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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10 May 2023 - 10:44 pm
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Hi and welcome! Real quick for now, I'll be back with more thoughts tomorrow... Definitely mention it to you vet just in case there's a weird suture bothering him. If they're coming out tomorrow hopefully the at will no longer be an issue if it is the cause.

Some dogs will have lingering sensitivity so that would be unusual. He may also have some untreated pain. But either way it does sound like he could use some gentle massage, and it's a good way to see if one particular area is more sore (neck and shoulders are common spots).

Let us know how the vet visit goes. 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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11 May 2023 - 9:04 am
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Beelzepup.....such a cute name!

What was the reason for the amputation?

Ditto everything Jerry said about massage Etc the only other thing I could add is that it may be a stitch that is pulling on him somehow. Guess you'll know once the sutures are removed. Also, do you have non-slip scatter rugs any of the hardwood or vinyl floors. He needs those for traction . Don't know if that would have anything to do with the challenge in sitting or not.

Will look for your update when you get a chance.


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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11 May 2023 - 10:58 am
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Hi and welcome.

My current Tri is a Pug Mutt who lost her back leg after being hit by a car at 7 months old.  I adopted Elly when she was 10 months old and fully healed from her surgery but her amp side was super sensitive.

Did they remove his entire femur or leave a bit of bone wrapped in muscle?

Elly's entire femur was removed which I think is partially responsible for the sensitivity on her amp side.  For a couple years after I got her she would not sit on hard surfaces and she often would sit on her other back leg.  She did not like me to touch anywhere near her incision line.  She is now over 8 years old and will sit on hard surfaces but prefers not to.  She is still a bit sensitive about her amp site but I can touch it now without her reacting.

Elly weighs around 15 pounds so she is pretty small.  She also has about 25% Chi in her DNA!


Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

Member Since:
4 May 2023
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11 May 2023 - 12:54 pm
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Thanks all! Good call on it possibly being the sutures bothering him - fingers crossed getting them removed helps. And I'll give massages a try - would that be around his amputation site or around the other limbs?

Also @krun15 that's both helpful and sad to hear. Yes, they removed his full femur. The vet said it lowers the risk of phantom limb pain that way. But didn't consider that it might also make it hard for him to sit. Have you noticed that sort of chronic issue impacting your dog's other leg at all? I'm just worried because he sits on his other leg instead of his butt, that it might put even more stress on that remaining back limb. 

I actually did notice this morning that he's sitting a little easier (still favors the other side but has learned to use his tail as a cushion) so hopefully that's a good sign he's adapting. 

@Benny55, we have rugs on most of the floor but he does walk around the dining area which doesn't have any. It hasn't seemed to impact his mobility, but he's also good at hiding when he's uncomfortable, so I'll look into some options for traction in case it helps. We did get him some socks before the amputation, to get him used to them in case he needed them, so I'll try those.

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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11 May 2023 - 1:45 pm
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Have you noticed that sort of chronic issue impacting your dog's other leg at all?

No, no chronic issues with her other leg.  I just made accommodations- for example I had previously trained my dogs to sit at corners when we were walking but I don't ask Elly to do that. When I do need her to sit, like in a class or during training, or when I know we would be out for a long stretch I would bring a towel or small mat. 

It's not a huge pain issue for her- just some sensitivity.  I could get her to sit on a thin towel laid on concrete when she wouldn't sit on the plain concrete.

Now she will sit on hard floors if I ask her but I usually let her choose.  She often sits 'side saddle' too- I let her do what ever is comfortable.  I even taught her to 'sit pretty' (sitting up) but she can only do it, and I only let her do it with assistance. I was thinking it would be good for her core strength but since she is a bit unstable even with assistance I don't ask her to do it anymore.


Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls and Boy

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

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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11 May 2023 - 2:57 pm
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My tripawd's background is similar to Elly's. Loki was hit by a car and lost her full right rear leg at 3 months old. I adopted her fully recovered from surgery at 5 months. She turns 2 later this month. 

Loki sits very evenly on hard surfaces, but I imagine it takes a lot of core strength to pull off. Your dog is likely still building the strength needed to to function as an amputee. On soft surfaces, like a couch or dog bed or me, Loki plunks her pelvis down and sits a little tilted. I suspect that resting her pelvis (and a good portion of her body weight) on a hard surface is uncomfortable. 

Unlike some of the other dogs here, I've found Loki really enjoys having her amp site massaged. I initially avoided touching the area when I adopted her. The empty socket feels wierd. But she likes a good firm rub where her thigh muscles should be. 

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