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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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Kassee joins the tripawd club today
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Member Since:
18 October 2009
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1
28 October 2009 - 9:14 am
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Just wanted to say that this site is amazing and Im so glad I have found it. I have spent countless hours reading as much as I can so I hope I'm prepared for this journey with Kassee, if thats possible.
Kassee (Cassidy) is my foster dog. I volunteer with a rescue group that pulls unwanted dogs from animal shelters in Georgia and transports them up to New York and finds them wonderful new homes. On a trip to the shelter 4 weeks ago I found my Kassee. She was lying in a too small kennel at the very back of the shelter reserved for the unadoptables where they wait for the next euthansia day. As I passed by the room I heard a loud thumping noise which made me stop and investigate and there she was, tail wagging. She had been hit by a car and had been lying there in pain for 4 days. As I put my hand through the bars to pet her, she licked my hand and that was it, I had to get her out of there. I took her straight to the vet. It seems she has sustained nerve damage in her paw and I have spent the last 4 weeks researching orthotics in the hopes that we could save her leg. But two vets have advised amputation and so Im trying to be as informed as possible as Kassee has her front leg amputated today. She is such a great dog and im so happy her life didnt end at the shelter. I will foster her for as long as it takes for her to be totally recovered and I was just wondering if anyone can tell me how long that might be? I know all dogs are different, of course, but any thoughts? Once she is ready to leave me, she will be looking for a new home. Shes only about a year old so hopefully she has a long life ahead of her.

Mesa, AZ
Member Since:
27 April 2009
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28 October 2009 - 9:29 am
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Hi lesley & Kassee.  Welcome!  You have definitely come to the right place.  Our dog Chuy lost his frt. left leg due to what we think was being hit by a car.  Needless to say, he was only 4 months old at the time and the leg was amputated in August of 2008.  We adopted him in November, right after Thanksgiving 2008.  In May, Chuy had FHO surgery on his left rear leg.  Poor thing thought he lost another one, but it was only the head of the femur that was removed. 

Some dogs will heal quicker than others, but being young does help.  I'm sure that Kassee will be up and around in no time.  Remember, the first couple of weeks will have highs & lows.  Make sure you have a sling available to help her outside to potty.  If she won't eat right away, keep trying, Chuy would only eat boiled chicken and rice for 3 weeks after the FHO surgery.  The pain meds may cause whining, panting, etc. 

You are a saint to pull Kassee and save her life like that.  We're sure she will be a great dog for a very lucky family one day.

Chuy & Eleanor

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories

Winnipeg
Member Since:
13 July 2009
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28 October 2009 - 9:33 am
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Hi Lesley and Kassee

What a story. You are wonderful for finding her and taking her home. I can't believe they have a horrible room for unadoptables, or left her for four days in pain. Yuck. Thank goodness you rescued her.

A few people on this site adopted pets like Kassee that had recent amputations due to accidents or abuse. I am not sure at what stage they are put up for adoption, but maybe that depends on the situation (will she be placed into a shelter, or adopted directly from your home?). I wouldn't be surprised if someone sees that picture and wants to reserve her in advance. Who could resist?

Most of our dogs lie around a lot for two weeks following amputation. By that time, the pain drugs have usually been stopped, the stitches come out and they are pretty mobile. But many youngsters never really slow down much. Having said that, they seem to get a lot more strength for several weeks or months following amputation (other muscles grow to compensate).

I would guess that she could be placed once the stitches are removed, but I bet there are lots of people on this site (Wyatt perhaps and wasn't Sully adopted from a shelter as a fresh amputee) who can give much more insight into your question.

Susan & Tazzie 2

zoes4life
4
28 October 2009 - 10:25 am
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It breaks my heart to hear your story, but thank goodness there are people like you out there to step up and take care of her.  I would imagine that with her age and no illness, she will bounce back quickly and like everyone says 2 weeks seems to be the average for most to recover from surgery.  I just wanted to say thank you for your kindness.  This whole experience has opened my eyes to the good that is within people and what they are willing to do for animals.

Livermore CA
Member Since:
24 January 2009
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28 October 2009 - 10:26 am
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Bless you Lesley for taking her out of the shelter and into  your home.  And to the vet!  It's hard for me, too, to believe that she could be treated the way she was, but now, life is good.

My Cemil is also a front-leg amputee.  It took him a little longer than the two weeks to get back to normal, but I think after the stitches/staples are out and they're off the pain medication, it's just a matter of healing, building up muscles, and adjusting to a new way of getting around.  I agree with Susan that she should be ready at that point (3 to 4 weeks).  Or maybe it'll be a failed foster and you'll be telling us stories about her for a long time to come...?  What a sweet face.

Best wishes for an easy recovery.

Mary

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

Northern Indiana
Member Since:
15 January 2009
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28 October 2009 - 10:37 am
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Bless you for saving this sweet soul, your rewards will be many!!  It is so sad to hear of her situation but thank goodness for that Labby tail thumping away at you!!

Keep us informed on her journey, we are all cheering her and you on!

Gineej & Paris

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

stacy
7
28 October 2009 - 10:55 am
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Hi Lesley,

I just wanted to say that you rock!  It sounds like that Kassee is a fighter and not giving up easily.  So as you have read, the general healing time is around two weeks.  After that is just a few weeks of re-figuring out how do things like balancing, stairs, jumping up on things, etc.  With Kassee being young she should do great, it may be a matter of keeping her calm while she heals, so that she doesn't pull out her stitches, etc.  Give Kassee my love and good luck to both of you.

All the best,

Stacy

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 October 2009 - 11:55 am
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Thanks for joining and bless you for saving Cassidy. We're glad you found us too! Never regret your decision to amputate, many of us here believe dogs do much better on three legs than trying to adapt to strange prosthetics attached to their body. And too many times we hear about others who put their dogs through multiple painful surgeries trying to "save the leg" only to amputate later anyway.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Winnipeg
Member Since:
13 July 2009
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28 October 2009 - 11:57 am
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You could start a new thread saying something like "Young NY tripawd lab needs home" to post on this website and some other sites that people with 3-legged dogs tend to visit (e.g., bonecancerdogs). That way you will advertise to a group of people who are highly sympathetic to her plight, informed about the issues, and possibly ready to bring another pup into their home and heart.

Then again, you might decide she already is home . . . Gosh, it must be hard being a foster parent. 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 October 2009 - 12:20 pm
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Tazzie said:

You could start a new thread saying something like "Young NY tripawd lab needs home" ... 


Great idea, exactly why we started the Tripawds Rescue Forum!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
26 November 2008
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11
28 October 2009 - 3:49 pm
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Lesley & Kassee,

First, welcome to this wonderful community.  As you can tell, it is populated by wonderful animal lovers who will provide incredible support.  Your story is extremely heart warming and there will be a reward for both of you once this ordeal is over with.  Most of the members are TriPawds because of Osteosarcoma or some other kind of cancer, but there are a few who, like Kassee, have required amputation because of accidents. The cancer provides a different set of issues than accident, but that is not to say the one is more difficult than the other, just different.  I think that you will be amazed at our quickly Kassee will adapt and assuming that there are not other internal injuries, Kassee should expect a long and happy life.  With a face like that, you may discover that it may take a life-time for a total recovery (another way of saying that you may have found a life-long companion.)  If, on the other hand, Kassee is adopted out, the love and attention that the two of you have shown for each other will make Kassee a welcome addition to any family.

Bless you and your organization.  With Paws Crossed and Sending Pawsitive Thoughts,

Bob & Cherry

Member Since:
18 October 2009
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28 October 2009 - 4:32 pm
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I really appreciate all your kind words of support on this very long day. Kassee has come through her surgery fine, the vet said she was wagging her tail as they put her on the table. I tell you that tail saved her life and its still wagging! He said she had some bleeding post -op that is now under control. Shes well medicated and has drunk some water and a few bits of kibble. I will call in the morning and see how she is doing. He said she may be able to come home tomorrow or if not, then friday.

Many of you have said I will keep her - well let me tell you I want to keep her. But then I want to keep all my fosters and I cry and am sad when I take them to meet the transport. I try and be happy that they have found wonderful new homes but they leave a little part of themselves behind. I usually only have a foster for a couple of weeks, and when one leaves, the next one comes. I get very attached, I dont think you can help it.Sometimes its longer; before Kassee I had a terrier that had to have an emergency Csection to save her and her puppies. Unfortunately only one survived but I had her until her puppy was weaned, so it was hard to let them go. My fosters come from the shelters and deserve a second chance. Their previous owners have failed them. I treat them like they are my own as they learn that life can be good again. I have failed foster 101 and most fosters do. We have 3 dogs of our own now, so I cant fail again. I would love to keep Kassee, I love her so much and she loves me but I have to love her enough to let her go. So another foster can get a chance at a new life.

My heart aches for all of you that are also battling cancer with your pets and I think it would be a great comfort to know that there are others making the same hard journey. Your pets are so lucky to have such wonderful parents.

Again, thank you so much for all your support and good wishes. Lesley and sweet Kassee.

Wesley Chapel, FL
Member Since:
13 September 2009
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28 October 2009 - 4:45 pm
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Good luck to Kassee in a quick recovery, and then finding an awesome and loving forever home! You are so wonderful to be able to do this... Wish there were alot more people like you out there in this world. Kassee was so lucky that you found her!!!

Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Member Since:
26 November 2008
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28 October 2009 - 7:41 pm
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Lesley & Kassee,

The news regarding Kassee's surgery was wonderful news for all of us here in this community.  When Kassee returns from the surgery, remember that the drugs often knock them for a loop.  As the pain-killers wear off and the chemicals leave the body, Kassee's personality will return.  As far as failing foster 101, you are doing wonderfully.  Those of us here in this community would never consider a TriPawd as a handicap, but the sweet face, friendly demeanor you have described, and "happy" tail will allow Kassee to find a wonderful home.  For anyone who has watched a graduation at the Guide Dogs for the Blind, we can relate to what you are saying.  At these graduations, the puppy raiser formally hands the graduating dog to the new owner.  It is a multi-box continuous tear stream, as the puppy raiser describes what it ment to have them in their home even though the dog was removed, retrained, and worked with the blind person over a year prior to the graduation.  All in the audience know how full the guide dogs life will be with the new "owner" and new job.  All in the audience know how much fuller the life of the blind person's life will be with this wonder gift.  But your heart breaks for the (usually young 4H) puppy raiser as they say goodby for the last time.

Thank God for the puppy raisers and the foster home such as yours.  Without you and the tail, Kassee would not have had any chance at life.

Bob & Cherry

Member Since:
20 May 2009
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28 October 2009 - 8:23 pm
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God bless people like you that foster dogs and finds them forever homes.   I am glad that Kassee's surgery went well.  The recovery varies from dog to dog but I think we can all atest to the fact that the first two weeks are the hardest.  Everyone gave you really great advice so I don't have anything to add.  Good luck finding a home for Kassee.  I already have three dogs so I can't help you! (...and a deaf cat, an alligator and five snakes)

Debra & Emly

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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