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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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Hi! New to Tripawd community
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
16 February 2017
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16 February 2017 - 8:13 am
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Hi there! My 7 year old 110 lbs Rottweiler was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a week and a half ago, with a tumour in his right back leg. he is currently being amputated as I write this. So nervous for him and scared of this journey ahead of us. He had a TPLO as a young pup due to hip dysplasia and now that same leg is being amputated. The past couple weeks we’ve seen a rapid decline in his activity and also mood, poor boy looks miserable. We will be following up with chemotherapy if all goes well. Would you be able to share your experiences with amputation and osteosarcoma? Do prospects look good, and how was healing? I was concerned as he does have moderate arthritis in his back legs and I’m aware that he’s a big boy, though I always tried to keep him on the leaner side to keep stress off of his joints. I’ve seen him progressively begin walking on three legs though the other day was given really good drugs by the vet and for a day or two he was walking on all four and even going up stairs to the second floor which he hasn’t done in a while. 

My husband’s family hasn’t been very supportive. They’ve always helped us with Cody when we were out of town, or when we were busy with our young child. They’ve voiced their opinion on letting him go to end his suffering, but my husband and I can’t let him go without a good fight. He’s been our best friend through all these years so ideally i’d like to see him thrive and be pain-free with the time he has left with us. My father in law even told us that Cody wouldn’t be able to come over anymore as he doesn’t want to see him in this condition. They think we’re making him suffer more. This makes me extremely sad and I would like to believe that I’m doing the best for him. 

Lately Cody has been so miserable, I would love to see him be the old him again and am very hopeful. Please share your story of life as a tripawd!

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28041
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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16 February 2017 - 1:21 pm
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Hi Codybearmama and family, welcome. Thanks for joining as a member, your future posts won’t need approval so post away. 

I’m sorry to hear about Cody, but YES you are doing the best for him. He was in terrible pain, you already saw that. When an animal shows pain, it’s really bad so he was telling you it was time to get rid of that bum leg. It’s surprising what a difference we see in dogs and cats when that leg is gone. They are so happy to be feeling good again. The pain of a bone tumor is far worse than any of us can imagine. Although amputation isn’t the appropriate decision for every animal in this situation, it sounds like Cody is a terrific candidate. Your vets wouldn’t approve if he wasn’t. He is such a young dog. At seven years old he still has lots of fun ahead of him!

To address your questions:

Would you be able to share your experiences with amputation and osteosarcoma? Do prospects look good, and how was healing? 

Oh gosh you’ll find tons of them here. Search the Forums for “Rottie” and “Osteosarcoma” and you’ll come up with hundreds of posts. Same with our Tripawds member blogs. Unfortunately it’s a disease we see quite often in Rotties, and there are many examples of how the fared. The vast majority do very well! Healing generally follows the same for all dog breeds. It takes about two weeks before you really feel like the worst is behind you. As long as the pain is managed well, the activity isn’t overdone and you maintain a strong, positive attitude, you and Cody will both do great!

Check out Jerry’s Required Reading List for more tips like this, and the Tripawds e-books library too.

As for your in-laws. mad Forgive them. Then ignore them. Most people have NO idea about what this situation is like, or how well a dog or cat on three legs can live. I myself was just as clueless until we were faced with amputation. Give them time, share videos and photos of Cody when the healing is done, and they just might chance their attitude. We’ve seen it happen, even with the crustiest people out there. Try to avoid them until Cody has his sparkle back, then perhaps see what their attitude is. You never know.

In the meantime, we’ll be here for you to share all that happens during your recovery and beyond. We hope surgery went great! Let us know OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3554
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16 February 2017 - 3:30 pm
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Welcome Cody and family!! I didn’t have a rottie but I had a tripawd named Shelby and she thrived on three! She had a different kind of cancer but I do know that she was happy once that painful leg was removed.

Jerry has given you some great links and definitely get the book (it was soooo helpful). 

As for your in-laws … perhaps share this community with them, the books and help teach them how happy a dog can with three legs! Dogs (and cats) don’t have the same perceptions as us humans do so I can see why it is hard to get it. But Cody just wants and knows love and it sounds like you love him a lot!


Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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18 February 2017 - 7:09 pm
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Thank you for the kind response Jerry and Mom2shelby:)

We picked up Cody tonight and he was in amazing spirits. The vet kept him for an extra day because he was a little weak yesterday to go home. I’m happy I didn’t have to see him in that condition and got to see him today as a happier pup as it reassured me that he’ll be okay. They did find some signs of a ruptured CCL in his remaining back leg which is a bit scary. We will take it a day at a time and just pray for the best. I’m happy we went through with it as he does seem in less pain than before, but I’m anxious to see him bounce back. 

Thanks Jerry for your support and resources, I’ll make sure to navigate through the site as I’m still not accustomed to it. It seems to have plenty of information that will help me through. Thank you for the welcome to the community!

It’s great to know that dogs can strive with 3 legs because before this I always felt so bad for them. Walking out of the vet today, we hear plenty of pitiful “aws” but it’s okay Cody is a champ and so strong. My husband and I both said he has so much to teach us about life. Alright going to get back to my pup, thanks again community!

The Rainbow Bridge

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18 February 2017 - 7:54 pm
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I don’t normally say this, but “Hubby is right!” Yes, this journey teaches us soooo much about life and overcoming adversity. Cody will be an amazing teacher, just wait.

I’m so glad he’s doing well overall. Keep in mind that anytime a vet says it’s a ruptured CCL and if they say surgery is required, get a second opinion OK?

Many hugs coming your way.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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