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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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How do we handle stairs?
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Forum Posts: 5
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2 January 2019 - 8:33 pm
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My 9.5 yo male Boxer is having his left hind limb amputated tomorrow due to complications from removing a mast cell tumor on that leg 3 weeks ago. We live in a split level and do not have a walkout option. Even if we confine him to one level of our home, stairs are still required to go outside. What can we do to prepare and help him? I’m guessing he won’t be able to handle any stairs, right? Do we carry him? Just want to make sure he has the absolute best conditions for a safe and speedy recovery.

Livermore, CA




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2 January 2019 - 9:59 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with mast cell cancer- my Pug Maggie lost her left rear leg to a MCT.

As far as stairs- after recovery most pups can handle stairs.  As a general rule rear leggers have more trouble going up stairs because they are pushing off only one leg.  Maggie was little and could not do more than 3 or 4 stairs after her amp.  However my current rear amp Tripawd, a little Pug-mix named Elly, flies up stairs without any issues and she is a bit smaller than Maggie was.  We live in a split level house too so stairs are part of the daily routine.

During recovery you can try and carry your boy- what’s his name?  An alternative is to use a harness and help him up and down the stairs.  Many here use the RuffWear WebMaster to help their Tripawds, including me.  You will want to block off access to the stairs so he doesn’t try on his own until you and he are ready for that.

Are the stairs carpeted? Traction is crucial for Tripawds so if you have any slippery floors you should consider using throw rugs or yoga mats to provide traction .  I have carpet stair treads on our tile stairs.

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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3 January 2019 - 4:06 am
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Hi and welcome!

Good luck with your surgery today! Will your pup be staying overnight after the surgery? How much does he weigh? If you have difficulty carrying him, you can use a makeshift “sling” out of a long towel or bag with handles modified to help him up to go out to potty. There is a great video that shows you how to make one. 

https://www.msp…..dog-sling/

There is a better video here on the site, but for now this gives you a better idea of what I mean. 

Please let us know how you make out!

Jackie and Huckleberry heart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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3 January 2019 - 8:44 am
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Thank you for the suggestions! This place is a godsend of info and stories. And there’s so many good vibes here! 🙂

My old man dog is Mr. Moe. A best friend to his whole pack. He just got a brand new little brother, 2 in fact. One is human, about turn 1 in a few weeks. The other is an 11-week old Boxer puppy, named Max. Moe is awesome and patient and kind with both of them, but we will do our best to keep them from interrupting his rest. Any suggestions on that front?

It sounds like he wil be coming home tonight, although yesterday the doc did say that it may be fluid and to possibly see how it goes. This is his 3rd surgery in a year so my primary concern honestly is getting out of surgery and onto the healing. He’s our tough guy for sure.

Would any harness help or does it need to be a Ruffwear? We have one that has a handle on the back, but not sure how much of a pain it might be to get it on him?

Will definitely post an update later today to let you know how it went. Thanks very much the warm welcome!smiley

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3 January 2019 - 8:52 am
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Oh, and he is 77 lb as of this morning.

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 January 2019 - 10:14 am
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Hey there! I’m in the Tripawds Chat right now if you want to talk. Back in a sec with some insight.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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3 January 2019 - 10:16 am
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You are in good hands now, I’m at work. Hoping your pup is doing ok!!

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 January 2019 - 10:21 am
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Welcome! So it sounds like he’s coming home the same day of surgery? Is that because your vet doesn’t have 24/hour care?

You’ve gotten some great tips from members, to those I’ll add: 

Check out Jerry’s Required Reading List and our What to Expect series about amputation. Our e-books library also has great tips all in one spot.

Regarding the harness you already have…what kind is it? One of the many reasons we carry certain harnesses in the Tripawds Gear store is that they have been “Tripawd Tested” by us or members and found to rotate less, and are better able to be used as an assistive device, especially during recovery and when traveling in the car. The Ruffwear Webmaster is the most all-purpose and the handle location is strategic, and able to help a human hoist their dog up (it was made for mountaineering dogs originally). When it comes to helping with stairs, this is how we used it way back with Jerry. The harness design is slightly different now but even better.

As you can see it’s not impossible to do stairs, but you have to use care if you have more than one or two steps, like a real staircase. Baby gates on long staircases are a must especially during recovery, just so you can keep an eye on him and he won’t do something crazy like try them just a day after amputation. 

Keep us posted on how things are going!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Virginia




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3 January 2019 - 10:30 am
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Cutest avatar  picture ever!!   A baby  puppy, a  baby human, Mr Moe becoming a tripawd, WOW!   You have your hands full!

We’ll wait for an update.  And we’ll be here to help you through recovery.

Hugs

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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3 January 2019 - 10:40 pm
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Thank you! That pic is of my oldest son with Moe, from roughly 9 years ago. 🙂

He is home now and resting on his bed in front of the fireplace. He was so cold when we picked him up. At 6pm. They started his surgery a little after 2pm. That’s a bit fast to be sending him home, right? We asked why he wasn’t being monitored overnight and they stated that he was doing well and recommended a few emergency clinics if we felt more comfortable having him hospitalized overnight. This is out of budget for us, but he does seem to be doing ok so far.

He woke and sat up about an hour ago and then completely took me by surprise when I glance over and see him trying to get up. He stood in place with support from me for about 3 minutes. Then decided to lay back down.

He was panting heavily but now resting quietly. I gave him 1 Gaba and 2 Tram so hoping he’s able to get some good sleep. Maybe me too but we’ll see…

Virginia




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3 January 2019 - 11:17 pm
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WOW!  Talk about coming home quickly!  Yeah, if unable to have him at an overnight  STAFFED clinic,  then best to have him home.  It’s  not going to be easy though!  Shaking off the anesthesia  can be scary to watch.

Hopefylly your pain meds and the hospital  meds will keep him zonked out for awhile, 

STAY CONNECTED  and let us know how he’s doing.   And try and get some rest while he’s  resting. 

Hugs

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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4 January 2019 - 4:04 am
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Wow, you certainly DO have your hands full! I hope your night was restful, hope Moe’s was too! My best suggestion for you at the moment is to keep your little human and little pup separated from big Mr. Moe unless there you are right there closely monitoring. They are probably going to want to jump over and love on him, and right now that may be a really bad thing. Hospital meds can def change a dog’s personality for several days, and if he is anxious and/or in pain he may act out in a way that is not like his normal loving personality. Don’t need any accidents right now. I am not trying to scare you, but this is major surgery and Moe may feel protective of his surgical area too.

What meds did they send you home with? Do you have a quiet room like a spare room or unused bedroom that Moe can recover in without you or him worrying about your pup or your baby? If you have any puppy pads, you might want to place one on top of Moe’s bed for him to lay on in case he has an accident. That can be common the first few days so don’t be alarmed. It might not happen, but if it does at least you’ll be prepared. It will also make your job easier with the clean up. If you don’t have a spare room, do you have a baby gate to keep him separate from them?

He is probably going to be quite loopy over the next 3-4 days. Anesthesia slowly leaves the body, along with any other sedative/pain meds that they have given him. 

Hope all is well and you were all able to rest.

Jackie and Huck heart

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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4 January 2019 - 7:29 pm
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I hope you’re all doing well. Just checking in on you. Prayers for a smooth journey 🐾💕🐾

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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5 January 2019 - 11:51 am
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https://photos……7e5baRFnWA

Hi all!

Sorry for delayed update. It’s been a bit crazy around here. Can’t thank my 12 yr old enough for the extra set of hands. We’ve definitely been keeping baby and puppy a safe distance from Moe while he rests. A playpen and lots of baby gates. Plus, downstairs is now just set up for Moe and the others can get energy out upstairs. Or even outside today. It’s extraordinarily nice for January in MN!

Since yesterday morning, Moe has been up and at em. Today, his personality and wiggle are coming back a bit and we can tell the anesthesia is wearing off. We’re using a soft blanket as a sling to stabilize and support going upstairs but he has no issues hopping down or over the garage door threshold. We’re encouraging him to rest but he does seem a bit restless so we’re making sure to stay on top of his pain meds.

He’s on alternating doses of Gabapentin (2x a day) and Tramadol (up to 1 every 4 hrs). We’re also tapering off prednisone and doing a round of antibiotics.

Not sure if this image link will work but if it does, does the bruising/blood pooling on the inside of his wound look normal? It’s cool and soft to the touch.

Thank you guys so much for the helpful tips and advice!!

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5 January 2019 - 12:06 pm
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Wow, he looks good! Way to go on proactively keeping everypawdy in safe range. 👍👍👍 to your 12 year old helper!

What i see in that picture looks like normal bruising. I am not a vet. I cannot see pooling, but that might just be the way i am seeing it. Cool to the touch is good, and i would keep an eye to make sure the area doesn’t continue to swell. Anything like that should be brought up to his vet to make sure he’s not getting a seroma . Keeping him quiet will help too. Is there any seepage?

What a wonderful update, you are rocking this!

Hugs,

Jackie and Huck ❤️

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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