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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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Mr Pip's journey to become a tripawd dog.
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Member Since:
28 November 2022
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1
1 December 2022 - 8:54 am
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Pip is 12years young and a fit and active border collie, who was searching for missing people, and climbing mountains until a couple of weeks ago when he had a fall, and went suddenly lame behind. After 2 weeks it was obvious this wasn't just a cruciate, or pulled muscle, and no meds were improving him from 3/10 lame so he went for referral last Thursday. (Yes he was really minimally lame on this leg - the only reason we went straight for referral is that he has early stage kidney disease so my regular vet didn't want to do 2 GA's if an Xray with her didn't show anything as  they thought this was likely a disc). Even the consultant was surprised by the Xrays 

He had a total femoral neck fracture surrounded by lots of damaged bone (suspected tumour) although it was a quite atypical presentation with no bone proliferation. Bone biopsy was inconclusive and CT showed no obvious mets and lymph nodes are normal. 

So we went ahead with a left pelvic limb amputation on Wednesday as this was the only way he could live a pain free life. He is recovering well and coming home Friday. Once we get the histology back we will know what we are dealing with and can decide what comes next. 

I found the recovery stories on this forum so nice to read, and the videos of how quickly the dogs get used to 3 legs is really heartwarming. 

I consider myself so lucky that I managed to get Mr Pip into the hands of a very good consultant so fast, and they acted so quickly which will hopefully mean that even if the histology comes back with the worst possible news then at least he should have a bit of happy and pain free life to make more memories. It's only 20 mins from home too. 

I have been surprised that I wasn't in the least concerned about making this decision. Yes, he is beautiful on 4 legs, but he honestly wont care that he has 3 legs as long as he can run again and have fun (even it might have to be slightly more sedate fun),so why should I?  The only other option was to say goodbye now, and he wasn't ready for that as he made us very aware (throwing toys at us and trying to run around even when he had a fractured hip!) and nor was I.

One tip I read on here that hadn't occurred to me, was to show my husband pictures of what Pip will look like and the amount of bruising he will have. That has been a great help to him in coming to terms with it. 

I have also taken another tip I found online and modified his body suit so it is for a 3 pawd dog, so he can't reach the wound and can have some safe supervised time without his inflatable collar (the hospital prefer these to cones). Who knew I could sew so well. smiley4

My final gratitude is that I have a really good insurance for him. I would be REALLY stuck if I didn't. 

Thank you for reading - I will let you know how he gets on when he gets home tomorrow.

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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1 December 2022 - 11:48 am
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Welcome Linda and Pip! I'm so sorry you had to join our club but glad you found us and decided to share your story too. We are looking forward to following along Pip's recovery here. He sounds like a great dog, a perfect candidate, and your great, pawsitive attitude will go a long way during the next few weeks and beyond. Great job! smiley_clap

I agree, pet insurance is a lifesaver, literally. The costs of amputation are astounding today! Keep us posted on how things are going. 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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1 December 2022 - 12:53 pm
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Mr. Pip sounds like a very, gifted boy on so many levels.  Uour love for him is clear.  You are focused  on givi g him the best pain free quaility  lofe possible  and that is all Mr Pip would want.👍

You have already  defined  what's important  amd why you  are doing this FOR Mr. Pip. Yes, staying fully present in . the now and making every moment count.

When you do go pick him up from the clinic, don't  even bother drawing  attention  to the incision.   He just 2ants to see your smiling face telling him he's a good boy and foing home!  

Sounds  like you've done your research  here on what to expect  with recovery,  it's no picnic,  but it doesn't  last furever.

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!

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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4 December 2022 - 1:50 am
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He came home on Friday, and by today (Sunday) he is already frustrated with the human on the end of the lead telling him to slow down and wait for his sling for the 2 steps down to the lawn. When he went for his 5 min walk yesterday he was trying to trot ahead of me. He certainly thinks its time to go again (he isnt being allowed to )

One thing I didnt expect from everyone else posts was the amount of fluid which would have accumulated in his sheath icon_lol It has pretty much all gone now, but it was a very impressive sight when I collected him. 

Bruising is hugely improved as well and the wound is looking clean and healing well. 

He is lying often on the amputated side which I found interesting and is apparently very common according to our Orthodox consultant. I would have through it would be sore but apparently dogs often do this and no-one really knows why

Anyway - all good here today. Looking forward to him being able to run free again. He has always loved t run so I suspect he is looking forward to that too. After all - thats why we did the surgery. 

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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4 December 2022 - 1:50 pm
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LOL that is a good sign he is going to bounce back pretty darn well! Spunky little guy! Also a great sign he's laying on the amputated side, it means he's comfortable!

Yeah some dogs get a pretty big seroma build up and some don't, it's so unpredictable. One thing that is consistent is that the more active a dog is after surgery, the more fluid drains out of the incision, especially for front leg amputees.

We hope you're all having a relaxing and mellow weekend. Stay strong, there will be plenty of time for running amok when he's healed up! Keep us posted.

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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8 December 2022 - 7:54 am
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Yesterday was 1 week post op. The dressing has fallen off now, and the wound looks brilliant. All of the bruising and swelling has gone. 

Yesterday he also had his usually monthly appointment with our vet Amy who was amazed by his mobility and recovery. He had his acupuncture and she tweaked his herbal formula to add in a couple of other things to help if the histology from the leg does come back as cancer. More to add later when we know what we are dealing with. We have an oncology appointment pencilled in for a couple of weeks time when we have results. 

Pip is literally bouncing about, keeping him quiet and sticking to his lead walks is the hard bit. 

Monday he has his stitches out and a recheck by the consultant, then a week to recover from that and he will be back in the hydro pool and water treadmill. 

I don't regret the decision to amputate one little bit. He is off all pain meds and a happy boy. 

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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8 December 2022 - 10:50 am
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This is the kind of recovery  we all hope for, but not necessarily  the norm.  Thrilled to hear how Weller Pip is doing!  Your care is superb!

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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8
8 December 2022 - 10:46 pm
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Good boy, Pip! With a medical team like that, you are bound to have such a great recovery and aftercare, lucky dawg. I'm so impressed with the level of care you are getting. Keep on rockin the 3-legged life my furiend!

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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11 December 2022 - 5:36 am
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I'm so lucky with our medical support team - I know that. 

10 days yesterday and Mr Pip was back out with the search dogs just doing a tiny baby trail and loving every moment. I can't work out how to attach a video??? but I've seen other people do it so it must be possible. When I click the icon above it is asking for source?? No idea what that means smiley4

Anyway - he is doing brilliantly well - I think being super fit before the surgery must have helped him a lot, and he is also not a large breed, so doesnt have a huge amount of weight to carry.

Back on Monday for a check with the consultant and stitches out. He cant wait as that means he can have his body suit off and be naked again 🙂

Thanks for all the support guys - means a lot to know you are not alone

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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11 December 2022 - 4:33 pm
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Wow that's amazing he's already doing that. Take it sllooooooow though, you don't want him doing too much too soon. But yeah, being fit before surgery is a huge advantage for an amputee patient. Good job!

Regarding video: the best thing to do is upload to YouTube first, then copy the video URL (see the "Share" link under the video). Return here and paste that URL into this thread. Your video should appear.

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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12 December 2022 - 1:23 am
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Ahh ok - I best find my YouTube login details then. I have got so used to direct linking!

Don't worry - we are going slow. His baby trails were about 150m and took 2 mins. It was more about letting him use his brain. 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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12 December 2022 - 12:08 pm
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Sounds exactly like what he needs right now, good job!

Yep, YouTube makes it easy to share videos here. Thanks for digging up the log-in details, can't wait to watch!

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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22 December 2022 - 5:44 am
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Hopefully this link to the video will work. Sorry it took me a while 

Member Since:
28 November 2022
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22 December 2022 - 5:47 am
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Even better - yesterday I got the histology back on the femur and ITS NOT CANCER!!! The very best news.  So no chemo and we can just continue to let him live his life and enjoy every day. 

New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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22 December 2022 - 8:01 am
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Yay for being cancer free!  Looks like Mr. Pip is adjusting beautifully to life on three legs.

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