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 - I hope you don't mind just jumping right in. I adopted a tripawd a few months back (and adore him). A trainer I was working with (who was accredited and recommended by the local animal welfare organization) called me frantically about 2 weeks back + said my guy was injured + he was talking the dog to the vet. The narrative the trainer gave me (and the vet) was that my pup jumped out of his van + scraped his back stump + that's why he wasn't walking + was yelping whenever he tried. The vet said we'd have to amputate the stump, because it was a poor amputation the first go around + the nerves were affected.
It didn't make sense to me, so I took him to a second vet who seemed to know much more what she was talking about and took multiple X-Rays. Said it was likely a spine issue (though the X-rays didn't show anything) + likely a slipped/compressed disc affecting his good back leg + had nothing to do with the stump. Said he needs to be resting in his pen for the next couple of weeks while he heals. His good leg is a little off kilter, but getting better.
The second vet also put a catheter in his leg + prescribed megadoses of vitamin C and vitamin E twice a day as part of the healing process. Is that standard veterinarian practice + something which could affect his recovery in a positive fashion? I've never encountered something like that with any other dog I've owned. She also recommended hyperbaric oxygen treatment + gave a card for energy healing, both of which gave me a little pause. I've been searching medical journals online + can't find anything supporting any of this stuff.
Should I get a third opinion? Candidly, I'm quite happy with the diagnosis at the 2nd vet, but not sure about the treatments, including some homeopathic supplements she gave.
What I've read online basically says 95% of pups who have this get better without surgery + I'm wondering if there's anything to do other than cage rest.
Appreciate your insights!
Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.
How big is your pup? What kind of dog? How far out from amp surgery?
What do you mean my stump? In my experience if a rear amp has a stump it is very small, wrapped in muscle and not really something that looks like any type of limb. Scraping it would mean that the belly was scrapped too?
I've not heard of the treatments you are talking about and I'm not a vet so I can't comment on them. If you are not comfortable with the treatment recommendations you should get clarification or seek another opinion.
You can also consider seeing a certified rehab vet. We have a program here that may pay for your first visit. They are experts at diagnosing injuries and can help with a program for rehab and strengthening. It is important for Tripawds to be fit and strong in their core and legs.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
22 February 2013
Thank you for adopting a tripawd! What's your pup's name?
Just to clarify, is your pup actually living with a Trainer and not jist attending a training class? When you mentioned he jumped out of a Van, didn't sound like it was you taking him back and forth to a training session.
Like Karen, wondering how long ago the amputation was. What has his activity level been like before this "episode"?
To clarify again, the first Bet felt like the pain came from the scrape AND nerve endings being exposed due to poor surgery? While all that could be true, not sure how that would cause issues with the remaining leg.
Were any xrays done on the remaining back leg? All too often in a tripawd a remain back leg can have knee injuries and need cruciate repair. If he jumped oit of a Van and that "good" leg landed hard, this sort of collapsing and causing the stump to toich the ground, then an xray should be done on that leg.
And yes, a hard landing can certainly cause a spinal issue.
Sorry if I'm confusing g things more, just trying to wrap my head around what happened, how it happened, why the conclusions have been drawn, etc.
Other than rest, is he on a y pain meds and anti inflammatory? Like Gabapentin and Rimadyl??
Is the Bet who prescribed the Vitamin C and oxygen chamber a Holistic Bet by any chance.
And yes, a consult with a Rehab Specialist can really be very beneficial. Definitely try to arrange that.
Update when you can.
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!
You are both so wonderful! Thank you!
Our pup's name is Milagro. 🙂
How big is your pup? About 20 pounds.
What kind of dog? A glorious mutt! 🙂
How far out from amp surgery? He lost his leg at 3 weeks. He's 6 months, now.
What do you mean by stump? The leg was severed just about the back right knee. Something had chewed it off when he was rescued. They didn't amputate it---they just cleaned it + left it as it was, since it didn't seem to be an issue (and still doesn't seem to be an issue).
Just to clarify, is your pup actually living with a Trainer and not jist attending a training class? We had a trainer who was doing "dog socialization" once a week. It's a common practice where we live. The trainer would pick him up, bring him to their training facility, and she + her team would help integrate him with other pups. And correct---we weren't with him when this happened so we have to take the trainer at her word for what went down.
What has his activity level been like before this "episode"? He's always been bouncing around like a 4-legged pup.
To clarify again, the first Bet felt like the pain came from the scrape AND nerve endings being exposed due to poor surgery? That's what the trainer said + what we feel the trainer pressured the vet to say. It seemed like they had a relationship. The incident happened + the trainer rushed to the vet + we just showed up there. We didn't have a choice + were in shock because we trusted this person (who is well known where we live).
Were any xrays done on the remaining back leg? - We've had like 12 X-rays done. They all show nothing. Leg, spine, etc. When the new vet touched the lower back the other day, the pup yelped and jumped. The crazy thing is the dog had been doing fine---he went from not being able to stand + flopping around to walking + jumping + suddenly it was like his back leg was "drunk" again.
Other than rest, is he on a y pain meds and anti inflammatory? Like Gabapentin and Rimadyl?? First vet gave those. Second didn't.
Is the Bet who prescribed the Vitamin C and oxygen chamber a Holistic Bet by any chance. Yes. Which we didn't realize until after the first session + being sent home with a bunch of...stuff. Does that stuff...work? I'm not going to lie---we felt we were being pressured into a sales pitch the whole time but we want the best for our little guy.
Will investigate the rehab specialist.
Honestly, we just want to do what's best for him.
Some more thoughts-
Hopefully the 'jumping out of the van' was an anomaly. In general a puppy that young shouldn't be jumping out onto hard surfaces since their growth plates aren't fused yet. And you will want to protect the remaining 3 legs going forward since the 'spare' is gone.
Leaving that much leg could be a problem- but not always. Since he is only 6 months old you can monitor him for a bit and see how he does. As long as he doesn't try to walk on it our used it for balance. Sometimes with a stump that long the end will keep getting scraped leading to ongoing healing problems.
And this just popped into my mind- since he is still growing I wonder if the remaining bone could out-grow the remaining skin that covers it- that would be something to ask a vet.
Another reason to consider a rehab vet is that since he lost his leg so young he may already have a compromised gait- and that can contribute to back injuries.
Another option you might have for him is getting a prosthetic if he has enough of his leg left, and another reason not to jump to a full amputation. Here is some info on prosthetics.
And here is a post on the pros and cons of a partial amputation. From what I've seen here a partial amp of a front leg is almost always a problem, but not as much with the back leg.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
25 April 2007
Hi and welcome to you and Milagro. I'm just catching up on your situation. Yikes!
He's an awfully young pup and still has a lot of growing and strengthening to do. So yeah, I'd definitely check out the therapy around you. If you are in Denver, there are many excellent centers. My #1 recommended rehab/sports med center is CVSG in Littleton. Dr. Wendland was our Wyatt Ray 's ortho vet and she is EXCELLENT. She came from Colorado State and is very up on the latest orthopedic science and treatments.
You do good research and yay for being so inquisitive about the recommendations you were given. So, the vitamin C and hyperbaric therapy is experimental healing therapy and favored by more integrative veterinarians. Many conventional vets feel the jury is still out on these treatments because there aren't enough studies about their efficacy, but interest is growing because of so much good anecdotal evidence. Hopefully more studies will come out. My question to the vet prescribing these treatments would be, how many dogs with Milagro's condition have you treated with these therapies, and what has the success rate been when using them?