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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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I'm overwhelmed and need support . . . please
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Member Since:
14 March 2014
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27 March 2014 - 12:47 pm
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It's been two weeks since Silas's amputation and first round of chemo. Overall he's been doing well. He's getting around GREAT and loving being able to finally run around and be active again. Eating is the big ongoing issue. He seems to only want protein -- ham, ground beef are usual winners -- kibble once in a while. He's a 9 year-old Doberman who weighed 83 lbs pre-surgery and is now 73 lbs. Frankly this is a perfect weight for him. He's lean and muscular but I'm concerned about his nutrients + vitamins.


I'm also having a moment of overwhelm. I'm single and even though I have lots of support it's really, really hard going through this without a partner.


Just got him home from the vet. They removed his stitches (which I could tell were itching/bugging him) and did his second CDC and it looks like his platelets are low. I don't even know what this means yet, but for some reason it hit me hard. Silas is on antibiotics for a cough he had last week, just to be safe. When we got home from the vet I managed to get him to eat some more ground beef and ham before giving him this morning's antibiotics, then he drank a ton of water. A few minutes ago he barfed it all back up. My intuition tells me it's probably just the stress of the vet + too much water, but I'm just overwhelmed and emotional right now.


Sometimes it hits, doesn't it. I'm tired. I don't know what to feed him. I need a hug and some reassurance.


I don't know how to attach a photo, but here's a link to one from the dog park yesterday. We'll go back today because nothing makes him happier than adventures!




Thanks in advance for any words of encouragement.


Carla & Silas


Fort Wayne, IN
Member Since:
25 January 2013
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27 March 2014 - 1:10 pm
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That's a great picture.  He looks wonderful.  I think I even saw that on FB yesterday. Cool!

We didn't do IV chemo for Libby so I can't speak to how that may be affecting him.  Someone else will come along with more input in that area.

Is he still on any pain meds?  Is it possible the antibiotic is upsetting his tummy? Is he still coughing?  

He is still in the early stages of recovery from surgery so I don't think this is all that unusual. I would boil some hamburger (that takes a lot of the grease out) and mix it with some cooked, white rice.  That's what I gave/give my dogs when their tummy's upset and they handle it well.  You know he likes beef so he should like this.

I'm sorry you're feeling all alone right now.  Just know we are always here for you and this will get better, I promise. Here's a big hug for you ((((Carla))))

Amy & Spirit Libby



Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

Columbia, MO
Member Since:
10 December 2011
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27 March 2014 - 1:46 pm
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I agree with Amy.  It is still really early in the recovery period.  My Daisy didn't start eating "real" food until 3-4 weeks post amp.  She lived on boiled chicken, hotdogs and treats.  I figured as long as I was getting something in her she would be ok.  One day she came into the kitchen for her normal dinner like nothing ever happened.  In the short term I wouldn't worry to much about what Silas is or isn't eating.

I can't speak to the chemo since Daisy is not a tripawd due to cancer but antibiotics have always made my dogs sick for a least the first couple days.  So it could be that or like you said the stress from his vet appointment.

I know it can be overwhelming.  I'm single too and worried myself sick on how I was going to handle an 80-lb. three-legged dog during recovery before I even picked her up post surgery!  But together we muddled through it and after 4 weeks she was back to her normal self.  My real meltdown happened the morning before I was to pick her up from having knee surgery.  I convinced myself she would only be able to walk on two legs and then what was I gonna do!  (Not the case LOL).  Lots of people on this site helped talk me down off the ledge.

Hang in there, take a deep breath and DRINK!!  or eat CHOCOLATE!!  or BOTH!!  It WILL get better I promise.  And you and Silas will be stronger for it.

Hugs to you and Silas.

Marla and Daisy



My Two Tripawds...Biscuit and Spirit Daisy

Member Since:
22 March 2014
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27 March 2014 - 1:58 pm
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Hey Carla!

I am new here so I don't have a ton of advice for you.  But I have so totally been where you are today!!!  So I wanted to send you some hugs.  It will get better!!!  


And some more HUGS!!!

Los Angeles, CA
Member Since:
13 June 2013
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27 March 2014 - 2:34 pm
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Hi Carla,


I am also single parenting and it is exhausting and hard. I get that! My girl, Shelby, has had numerous rounds of chemo and I have had to fight to get her to eat post chemos but whatever she eats is good. She's also smaller (23#) but feisty nonetheless. Like the others have said, it is still really early.  I didn't see "Shelby" until about a month post-amp and even then it was limited. Now she's basically back to normal... it's almost 3 months. I do know how hard it is since my main support system (my mom) is in a different state but lean on us. We're a great group and we are here to help! 




Alison and Shelby 

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

New Jersey
Member Since:
25 May 2013
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27 March 2014 - 2:44 pm
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Dear Carla and Silas,
We all know how exhausting this is. Remember to take care if yourself, with proper sleep and nutrition. If your not at your best you will not be able to be for Silas.
Two weeks is early in the recoup in all ways for them. So be patient it will get better, much better. As far as eating we fed 5 smaller meals through out the day to make it easier on the tummy and not to overload. I think it helped with meds, some of those can be tough on stomachs for sure. Boiled chicken and white rice is nice and gentle.

It's a challenge with a big guy too with that weight, look into a harness to help you, it's helped us a lot. Snoops 74 lbs, also a bigger fellow. Also when he's resting take advantage and take it easy yourself. Sometimes we forget about us.

Last jump on chat, there are a lot of folks on who are there to listen, share their experiences which helps to hear and support you. We understand it's overwhelming at times, but it will get better.

Any gal who's got a dobie is usually a strong chick. ( I had a dobie mix, Barney ) and my hubbie says I could pull logs!
You'll be ok.

Esther and her Snoop

Member Since:
26 January 2014
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27 March 2014 - 2:45 pm
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Hi Carla, all the meds can kinda throw them off and recovering from the surgery takes quite awhile. Its completely normal. Chemo can do a number on their blood cell counts too because it'll attack everything, including good cells. The really good news is that he sure does look happy in that pic!!

Did you feed Silas the same way before surgery or is the hamburger/ham new? Sometimes with the new found yummy food, they'll refuse the "old" stuff smiley...esp if they are recovering and have figured out that mommy will cook them really good things if they don't eat the kibble laughinglaughing Like the others, we did boiled chicken and rice. I'd mix in cottage cheese and ground up vegetables too if there was no tummy upset. Try giving him a little bit of his hamburger with some regular white rice to start and see if he holds it down. 

This whole process can be extremely overwhelming. There are so many things going on and so many decisions to make, not to mention the toll worrying does takes on us. Just know that you aren't alone, we are all here for you.



Mom to Tripawd Angels Jake (2001-2014) and Rosco (2012-2015) and Tripawd Tanner. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I'll always remember it”  


On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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27 March 2014 - 2:59 pm
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Carla, you've gotten such fantastic insight here, I just want to offer my support and reassure you that yes, it DOES get better!

Antibiotics can be hard on the gut, he's probably nauseated from them. If you can stuff more food into his belly before the pills (if it's OK to do that, see the directions) that can make a big difference.

So it sounds like chemo was postponed?

Here are some appetite tips that can help.

And here's a link to help you post pics in the Forums

You are strong, you can get through this! Follow Silas' lead, he's the best teacher.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
18 September 2013
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27 March 2014 - 3:18 pm
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Hi Carla,

Just chiming in to say we are all here for you!

Silas is doing great....but the first few weeks are really hard.  I am on my own too (with the loving support of adult daughters who live in the same city) and when I was tired or worried I really had difficulty coping.

Keep posting here.....come into the chat room if you can.....and remember that things will get better.

Tuck is a food was not a real issue for him.....but I did feed him by hand for the first few weeks until the "cone of shame " came off!  One less front leg....and the cone just made eating hard for him!  One less hassle for him and I was sure he was getting good nutrition.

The meds are tough on all of the dogs/cats.....but they really need them so they can heal properly. 

Take whatever time you can to celebrate with Silas - or relax when he does.

Many hugs

Linda and Tucker

Member Since:
27 January 2014
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27 March 2014 - 3:56 pm
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I'm sorry, it is SO hard when things just aren't quite right and you can't tell exactly why, what is going on or if it's just normal recovery.

Have you ever considered a raw food diet? I guess most dogs do quite well on it and I have heard that it lowers the instance of cancer by about 10% and really hopes those on chemo as well. People think it's quite hard but it's not although does take a little research but it might also make you feel better and like you are moving in a positive direction. Of course as the vet for his/her opinion first.
I am 2 weeks (today) post-amp and there are a lot of ups and down. Take heart you are doing everything right! Virtual hugs from and my 3-legged Ripple dog!

Member Since:
27 July 2013
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27 March 2014 - 3:58 pm
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Hi Carla and Silas!  First I have to say, awesome picture!  I love the look of excitement on his face!  Seeing that he has moments like those during all of this, I would consider encouraging.  He looks so happy!

Those first couple weeks are so tough when they can't explain how they're feeling or what's wrong.  It's such a guessing game for us owners!  With the vomiting, what caught my attention is that he drank a "ton of water". One of my dogs (coincidentally the Tripawd) will throw up if she drinks too much water.  She's always been that way, so if we see her drinking what seems like a bunch, we take her bowl away for a couple hours.  So he may just have had an overload for his tummy and it had no where else to go but back up the way it went in. 

I'm certainly no expert, but I would think at this point to let him eat what he wants (OK, not chocolate and grapes, you know what I mean).  I've read a lot of people saying how picky their dogs have become.  Once chemo is over you can try to wean him back to regular dog food or whatever you decide to feed him. 

Lastly, we too had an off labs after 3 of our 6 chemos.  I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but we had low white blood cell counts after this one type of chemo (we alternated between 2 types).  I panicked thinking it meant that things aren't going well, but our vet said it's actually kind of a good thing as that means the chemo is still working in her body at that time.  They just don't chance it by doing another round until they're back to a good amount and that's only to be on the safe side in case they came down with something else in the meantime. 

Well, there's my babbling experience.  Hang in there, give him hugs.  A return lick is often just as good as that hug you need!  smiley

Livermore, CA

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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27 March 2014 - 5:28 pm
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You came to the right place for hugs! Well, virtual ones anyway.


My pug Maggie's chemo was postponed once at least, maybe twice, because of low white blood cell count.  Usually low counts after chemo aren't a big deal, they just postpone and reschedule when the counts come up.  We only had to wait a week.


Be sure you are not acting stressed around Silas when you are trying to get him to eat.  I made that mistake with Maggie when she had a problem eating. I would get frustrated because she wouldn't eat, she would read my frustration and be less likely to eat. Also- be sure there are no scents on your hands like perfume or even lotion.  Mag would turn away when I tried to hand feed her if I had recently put lotion on my hands.

Be sure you print out that picture you posted.  When you feel overwhelmed look at it and see the spark in his eyes.  You are doing an amazing job handling this by yourself.  Silas is happy and pain free- you did that for him!!


Come here often, and hang in the chat room if you need to talk.  Everyone here gets it.


Karen and Spirit Maggie

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

Glenorie, Australia
Member Since:
22 March 2014
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27 March 2014 - 6:28 pm
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Hi Carla & Silas,

I cannot offer any advice as I do not have a dog with cancer but I'm sending huge hugs to you and Silas,

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Carla & Silas))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))


It must be so hard to do it on your own. Be kind to yourself.

Love & hugs,

Kirsten & Fred

Orrtanna Pa.
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25 January 2014
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27 March 2014 - 6:31 pm
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Hugs to you and Silas !! The first few weeks are quite emotional and overwhelming. As far as eating goes, I think a lot of protein is ok. Have you tried scrambled eggs? They were a favorite for awhile. Ty would eat something for days and then all of the sudden, turn his nose up at what he had wolfed down the day before. I was cooking for him, a lot of veggies etc. he will no longer eat any of that. Cat food is the dish of the week right now. He will eat his kibble if I give it to him from my hand like a treat. Also, if the antibiotics are upsetting his tummy, try canned pumpkin. If I am repeating inf. already above, I am sorry, I am extra tired tonight, so may have missed some things above. I am also starting to think that I am too worried about food. Sometimes, if I put something down and walk away and pay no attention, he will eat. Hang in there, it will get easier!! More hugs!! Lori & TY

TY GUY, Best Black Lab ever! Diagnosed  and had amp in January, 2014. Kicked MRSA's butt. Earned his angel wings on April 16, 2014. Run Free my boy and don't forget a shoe. Ty is a proud member of the " April Angels". Ty sent us Daryl, a Tripawd rescue in Sept. of 2016. Daryl is 5 +or -. We are also Pawrents to Chandler, a Border Collie mix who is 15 and 1/2, Lucy, a Corgi who is 7, 2 minis, 2 horses, and a feisty cat named Zoe. Zoe had a non skeletal Osteosarcoma removed in July 2015. No Chemo, she was at least 16. She is going strong although she is now completely blind. She is now close to 20 and her hobbies are eating and sleeping in front of her personal heater. 

Member Since:
1 February 2013
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27 March 2014 - 8:09 pm
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Hey Carla and Silas-

You've received all the best advice. As long as he's eating that is a plus. Take 3 deep breaths and then give Silas a big hug and let him lower your blood pressure.

As many have said - low WBC are common as the chemo kills of so much. With Shooter it was standard to just put him on antibiotics after each chemo to help him fight infections.

We are here for you and sending pawsitive thoughts your way.

Luanne and Spirit Shooter

Spirit Shooter was a Miniature Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a MCT and had a LF amp 1/28/13 at 13-1/2 years old. 

Shooter crossed the Bridge on 8/28/13, his 7 month ampuversary and two weeks from his 14th birthday.

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