TRIPAWDS: Home to 16338 Members and 1796 Blogs.

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.

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!


Be More DogNEW! Be More Dog – Learning to Live in The Now

Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Is this normal after amputation?
sp_NewTopic Add Topic
11 April 2012 - 11:35 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Saffy had her rear leg amputated last week and everything seems to be pretty good — so I’m not super worried, I just need reassurance. 

It seems like about 20% of the time, she is entirely like her old self — wanting to play with the cat or chase deer and barking at people coming to the door… but then 80% of the time she’s just lying in bed.  She’s eating decently and using the bathroom, but she’s just not very eager to do these activities. I have to encourage her to eat or to go out.  How long does it take to get back to normal 100% of the time?

Also, I notice her stump is shaking a lot… just really twitchy.  The incision looks great and she’ll get her stitches out in a few days. But the muscle twitching looks kind of weird.  Normal?

New Zealand
Forum Posts: 315
Member Since:
6 November 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 April 2012 - 2:03 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

She is still fairly early on in her recovery and will take a while to be back to normal and even then ‘normal’ will have changed abit. Most people find that after 2 weeks their pup are all healed up. Give her time its a huge operation and she needs the down time to recover.

Cant help with the stump issue but would imagine its just the muscles and Saffy getting used to it.

Hows she doing otherwise?

Good luck


12 April 2012 - 6:30 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Sounds normal to me. They need tons of rest after the surgery. Most Dogs are starting to get back to normal after about 2 weeks but they can still have some times when they tire easily or need extra rest. When first adjusting they have to use their muscles in an entirely different way so those muscles  become fatigued and possibly sore. So they need extra time for their muscles to become accustomed to their new way of getting around and to heal their incision. Also if Saffy is still on meds they can make them sleep alot too. But she needs alot of extra sleep so don’t worry about that. The muscle twitching is normal. The muscles have been traumatized and they have to make new connections and figure out how to work again without that leg that was there before. That usually goes away in time. So even though most Dogs are starting to get back to normal at about 2 weeks it’s probably about a month before they are back to normal 100% of the time. But every Dog is different. Saffy sounds like she is doing good and is right on track. I know how it is to not know what’s normal and what’s not. It won’t be long before you are on here telling new members about your experience and what is normal and what is not. Praying for Saffy’s continued recovery and he getting back to normal 100% so you can have fun enjoying your Tripawd!!

San Diego, CA
Forum Posts: 2503
Member Since:
29 October 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 April 2012 - 8:43 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Abby’s personality was mostly back at about 12-14 days after. (Of course she still needed to build her stamina back up after that.) So Saffy sounds like she is right on schedule. Abby seemed very sad and just wanted to lay outside by herself. The pain meds and the recovery messes with their personalities, but you’ll see her fully back soon.

And Abby had a lot of that twitchiness. It definitely subsided after a while – I don’t remember how long that took, but that’s pretty normal.

All the best,
Jackie, Angel Abbys’ mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

12 April 2012 - 8:47 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Assuming all is good medically she sounds right on track.  Amputation is a HUGE surgery- and she is only a week into recovery.  Seems like many pups turn the corner around the 2 or 3 week mark, or when the sutures come out.

My pug Maggie took longer to come around though- it was 4 or 5 weeks before her personality started to come out again.  She had no medical complications, and in fact was walking the day of surgery (she was also a rear amp).  She was just an obstinate pug who did not like change in her routine!  She did get back to herself, she just took her time.

I never noticed Maggie’s stump shaking or twitching on its own- she did occasionally try to scratch her chin with her ghost leg and her stump would move.  If its not causing pain it may just be the muscles and nerves trying to figure things out. Of course if you have any concerns check with your vet.


Karen and the pugapalooza

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28303
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 April 2012 - 10:01 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I agree with what everyone else said, this sounds like a normal recovery. Try to put yourself in her paws and consider how you might feel after such major surgery. You’ll see that she’s handling it pretty well all things considered.

The twitchiness is normal, and as long as she’s not crying out in pain you probably don’t have to worry about phantom limb pain. It will subside but every now and then you’ll probably notice it. If you want to help her relax, check out these news posts:

Relax and Learn How to Massage your Tripawd

Massage Techniques and Tips for Tripawds

Phantom Limb Pain in Tripawd Dogs

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 16
Member Since:
31 March 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 April 2012 - 1:39 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Sounds normal! My dog just got done with that!

In your heart, where I belong.
Forum Posts: 1153
Member Since:
9 February 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12 April 2012 - 9:02 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I just wanted to reassure you on the twitching stuff. Lke Jerry said, if she doesn’t act like it hurts then it isn’t a concern. My Dakota had a front leg removed 14 months ago. He still twitches his chest muscles and it makes us all laugh and squirm at the same time. He does it when he’s laying down and appears a bit excited. (He doesn’t get terribly excited about anything.) But he lays there and his chest wiggles like there’s a life form in there and it’s funny and weird and creeps out the visitors!


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
7 April 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14 April 2012 - 5:59 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I know exactly what you mean jellylorum.  I am experiencing the same symptoms with my dog Edward who had his rear leg amputated about 10 days ago due to osteosarcoma.  I see glimpses of “Edward”, but most of the time he just wants to lay on his bed.  He has those same twitches you described with Saffy.  Sometimes they are more severe than others.  The only difference with Edward is that he doesn’t have much of an appetite.  The vets have tried various things, but he’s still not interested in food.  I know the pain meds also affect the appetite, so hopefully that will improve now that he is off all his pain meds.

From what everyone is saying, it sounds like Saffy and Edward are doing about as expected at this point.  It is just hard to see them so quiet.

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12340
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14 April 2012 - 6:18 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

edward3rr said

From what everyone is saying, it sounds like Saffy and Edward are doing about as expected at this point…

Thanks for commenting edward3rr, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

14 June 2013 - 4:27 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

MY boxer Tango just had his front leg amputated and has been home two days. He has been happy and trying to do everything like before but today he seems really tired and has that twitchy stumpy thing too….so its good to hear that its normal. Guess the tiredness is down to overdoing it and being so excited to be home.

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12340
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14 June 2013 - 6:20 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

tango said
Tango …has been happy and trying to do everything like before…

Don’t let him do too much. That’s why he’s tired! Confinement and rests are key to quick recovery. You’ll find plenty of more care tips and recommendations in the Tripawds e-books.

Welcome and thanks for joining, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

bradys mom
3 December 2013 - 5:17 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

my goldie-7yrs-brady, lost his rear right to nerve sheath cancer 2 months ago. its been an up/down ride and many trips to our vet to make sure everything is normal. today was our most recent trip due to severe muscle spasms in his stump and just a look of pain. i just dont understand how he could go along without this for so long and now wam! its been very tramatic for me to watch my boy go thru this. they put him on joint meds, anti inflam and pain pills. hate to medicate him but he wont sit still otherwise. any suggestions to ease his discomfort?

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28303
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3 December 2013 - 6:22 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Brady’s Mom, welcome. Please consider joining and starting a new topic so we can get to know you better and do all we can to help.

It does sound like Brady is suffering from phantom limb pain, has your vet discussed this issue with you? Is he taking anything like Gabapentin, a common drug to help alleviate it?

Try to keep in mind that medicating your dog is doing your dog a favor when he is in pain. As long as you’re working with your vet and providing a consistent pain relief schedule, things do get better as time goes on. Be sure to check out our phantom limb pain resources for more information.

Keep us posted!

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

bradys mom
3 December 2013 - 11:37 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I have tried the massage and now we r trying the heating pad. Poor thing gets focused on it and it gets worse. Do u know what dose of gamba the vet gave him? That way I can ask for that tmrw because the stuff he gave today is def not helping.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online: angelbiezeman
Guest(s) 97
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1109
Members: 11646
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 16582
Posts: 233241
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.