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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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Elizabethan collars and more modern alternatives
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Member Since:
7 December 2009
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11 August 2010 - 7:44 pm
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My guy Linus is just home from the hospital with his "New and Improved Single Rear Wheel Drive"!  He's a Great Dane and is wearing a GREAT BIG hard plastic E-collar.  It's awkward and he seems scared by the noise it makes when it hits everything.  Plus he's having a difficult time seeing things around him and putting his head down to sleep.    

Anyone have good luck with the soft collars or other alternatives to the giant plastic radar dish E-collar?  The last thing I want is for him to hurt his incision so he'll wear it unless we can find a great alternative.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions and best to all !


Linus' mum and his sister/nurse Silly


(BTW, a big beautiful poop tonight after he scarfed down his dinner !  What a guy 🙂

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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11 August 2010 - 10:49 pm
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I never used a cone for Tazzie; just a tshirt.  Other dogs on this site have had luck with the inflatable collars but I know they are pricey.


Kirkland, WA
Member Since:
2 June 2009
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11 August 2010 - 11:06 pm
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First off, glad to hear that Linus has beautiful poop wink  I recently finished some externship hours in a veterinary hospital - there were a couple dogs that brought in their own soft e-collars (just like the plastic ones, but made from stiff canvas-y type material) and one that had an inflateable collar (it's like a thick donut around their neck).  Both seemed to work really well, but every dog that had them were small dogs (like westie-sized).  I feel that the inflateable one may be better for a great dane because it's sturdier...I just have visions of the cloth one going all flimsy because of the large size for a GD!  But, I'm sure the company thought of that had there is really no problem...just my imagination 🙂


<3 Laura and Jackaroni

Member Since:
30 July 2010
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11 August 2010 - 11:10 pm
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Hi starcreek,

My dog Chloe had a back leg amputation, so the huge satellite dish around her head was the only thing that kept her from licking. I understand having the dog hitting everything (especially in the middle of the night when you are sleeping) and affecting the dog's comfort. Luckily Chloe is good when someone is around to watch her so no cone needed, but I still have to put it on at night. Tonight is the last night because she gets her staples out tomorrow!

You might have better luck with alternatives that you are looking into since Linus had a front leg amputation. I wanted to get an inflatable one, but they are a bit pricey as tazziedog said and I don't think it would have prevented Chloe from being able to reach...

-Chloe's mom

Chloe became a rear amp tripawd on 7-29-10. Another tumor was removed on front leg 2-20-14. Found 3rd tumor on neck 2-2015, but she's still kicking cancer's butt at age 14. Chloe's blog

Member Since:
7 December 2009
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12 August 2010 - 8:28 am
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Thanks for all the ideas.  I think I'm going to have to find an alternative regardless.  Linus can reach the very rear of his sutures with the collar on.   He's so long that he doesn't have a hard time bending in half and reaching his butt 🙂

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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12 August 2010 - 10:54 am
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Glad he's home!

Here is the inflatable donut cone everyone's talking about.

For now you can try rolling a big towel and securing it with duct tape around his neck. Ugly, but it's worked for some.

Before you stop using the satellite dish, be sure to add his pic to the CONE OF SHAME HALL OF FAME!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Taos, NM
Member Since:
12 June 2010
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12 August 2010 - 11:24 am
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It's definitely harder with big big dogs.  My first Labrador, Tzav, was enormous for a lab (not nearly as big as a GD, though) and he had trouble with some of the inflatable alternatives to the e-collar because they would bang against the doorframe when he would try to walk though a door.  the no-bite collar might be a good choice for him:


Tzav had two knee surgeries and he was a big big licker.  We found that using clothing was best.  We usually used a t-shirt and wrapped/taped it with vet wrap around his waist and wherever else we needed to for it to fit.

Another interesting alternative that worked for Tzav that hasn't been mentioned yet is the k9 TopCoat lycra bodysuit.  Also expensive, esp. for a big dog, but has tons of uses, will last forever, and definitely will not allow chewing or licking and will not come off.  You can also cut the coats if you want shorter legs or even cut off the whole back end for a front amputee.  Its a truly great product.  I always used to have one on hand for my dogs because there were countless ways to use it, from allergy prevention to wound protection.  They do sometimes have returns for sale at reduced prices, and great customer service. 


good luck,  Beth

Beth with my beloved Tshuvah, 10 year old "TaosDog". Provisional diagnosis osteosarcoma on 6/10/10, amputation of left foreleg same day, firm diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma 6/24/10. Set free on 9/9/10.  Treasured forever.

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