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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is your home 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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Member Since:
17 September 2023
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27 September 2023 - 8:32 am
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Hello,I'm Buddy's Mom he is 6.5 yr old white GS.weight 89lbs. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on Sept 8th.We did amputation on Sept 20th.Buddy has always had the sweetest funny personality since we got him at 8wks.He has always done head whips when playing and loves his ball and chasing sticks.He did great day of surgery and is still doing great.Yesterday and today he has been resting much more than the first several days which I'm reading  and hearing is normal.He is on 300mg Gapapentin every 8 hr and 500mg and 75mg Cephalexin.and 75mg Carprofen.every 12 hrs.His incision site looks really good.They did Lazer surgery on him.He is eating normal and normal potty times.He did have 2 accidenst peeing the first day home but since has been back to normal. My concern is the next steps of treatments,Chemo and what to expect,also needing advice on rehab to help him with his other limbs as not to injure them at this point.We live on a steep hill with some flat area's but most are hills.

Thank you Buddysmom  Maureen


Member Since:
4 July 2023
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27 September 2023 - 9:32 am
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Hi Maureen, Pleased to meet you and Buddy! …though, of course, sorry it had to be this way!sp_hearticon2

I saw your earlier post, and it’s likely Buddy overdid it activity-wise while still on those powerful post-op pain meds (as @mischief noted). In general it’s best for the first two weeks post op to be limited to leashed potty walks, and as one of our community stalwarts Sally says: Rest, rest, rest! So, probably confined to a single room.

My Juno and I went through this exact process in late June/early July and I can say that good solid two weeks of rest is really worth it so they can come back strong!

Any activities should really be limited to things like brain games that can wear them out mentally without a lot of physical demands. Some can be homemade, some can be bought. Favor the ones you find that involve only modest activity.

As far as chemo - pet chemo is very different than human chemo as it’s much lower dose because rather than aiming to cure the disease (which can still happen occasionally!) it’s primarily aimed at extending their quality of life. And while it generally does, results are not guaranteed and can depend on how advanced the disease is and how the pet’s body responds.

My dog is currently on chemo (4 of 6 treatments three weeks apart) and like her, most dogs do not have many if any side-effects on it. Sometimes there can be a some vomiting and diarrhea in the first few days after a chemo treatment, but most vets will give you preventative meds for this so it’s not much of an issue. It’s not like human chemo where they side effects tend to be severe and pretty life-altering. Also, if a dog does have any more serious side effects the vet will usually lower the chemo dose to something they can tolerate well. 

And, if at any point you or Buddy are uncomfortable continuing with chemo, you can quit at any time. There’s no obligation to continue with any type of treatment.

As far as rehab - my June loves it and it has been a huge boon for her! We live in hilly country as well, and I can definitely tell the difference rehab has made, especially when she walks on uneven, inclined surfaces. I’ll let @jerry help refer you to a rehab specialist in your area, or you can call the Tripawd Pals Helpline and they can help connect you.

Sending care sp_hearticon2

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

Member Since:
17 September 2023
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27 September 2023 - 12:38 pm
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Thank you Natalie,I never thought of brain games,such a great suggestion!I live in Pennsylvania so nice to meet someone else in the same state going through what we are.I'm  sorry for your sweet June as well

I will definitely let him rest I was alittle worried at first but the more I get responses the better I'm feeling.It definitely all makes sense as he did have a major surgery.This is a learning experience for us all and I really appreciate any and all the help I can get.

I've been reading everything I can find on Osteosarcoma and amputation,some encouraging some not so much.What I'm getting is it's different in every dog.

I'm definitely going to look into some rehab for Buddy to help him adjust.

Thank you so much

Many prayers for June and you🙏❤️

Member Since:
15 March 2023
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27 September 2023 - 2:38 pm
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Hey Maureen,

Natalie gave you a lot of great information. I just wanted to add on to what she said.  As far as treatments- I was about to suggest reading up on some of the vaccines but Buddy already has had his amputation so that might be out, saying that though, Yale vaccine might be an option still, but I don't think Torigen or ELIAS are. I did carboplatin chemo with Ellie, but she was only prescribed 4 treatments, the science is showing more and more that 4 is just as effective as 6, but of course chat with your vet about that.

I second how great rehab is, I did it with my 97 pound pup and it was really helpful.  We started with a lot of balancing exercises and moves that would strengthen her core.

I'm sorry you had to join our club, it sucks, but I'm glad to hear Buddy doing so good!!


Member Since:
4 July 2023
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27 September 2023 - 4:22 pm
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Ah!! So glad you mentioned the immunotherapies, Whitney! After I logged off I realized I needed to come back tonight and mention them.

Whitney and I are among those who would have liked to consider doing the Elias or Torigen vaccines, but found out too late after the leg was already gone (you need to have the vet send away a tumor sample in order to do these). However, as Whitney points out the Yale EFGR/HER2 vaccine study does not require this. And fortunately, we here in PA have access to a number of study sites (see bottom of the linked page) where Buddy can get it if you wish.

Much like chemo, there are no guarantees. For some dogs it makes no difference, for others it lengthens their lives, and for a lucky few it puts their cancer into complete remission. My Juno just got it on Tuesday after they ran a battery of tests to confirm she was eligible. She was on the waitlist for it for about a month before they called us up and invited her to come in.

You can still do the vaccine with chemo, and in fact the McMurray, PA MedVet where we went to get it required you to do “standard of care” in order to get it. Other study sites may have different requirements

No pressure to consider more than you and Buddy may be comfortable with - it’s just as I say, these are things Whitney and I came to discover later in our journeys and would want to know in your shoes, just so you have the option. 😊

Prayers for you and Buddy too 🙏sp_hearticon2

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 September 2023 - 11:13 pm
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Hey Maureen, I'm so glad Buddy is doing so well! 

It's really easy to get overwhelmed when you get this news. Try to take things one step at a time. Your oncologist can tell you about treatment options so try not to jump ahead until you know what they recommend, and decide if it's right for you and Buddy. 

In the meantime yes, rehab can really help! Even dogs who have great recoveries can benefit, because we get educated about what kinds of activities are good and not good, and how to prevent injury. Tripawds Foundation can pay for your first rehab visit too so you've got nothing to lose. 

Buddy sounds like such a cool dog, he's so lucky to have a great mom like you looking out for him. What's his weekend been like so far?

Member Since:
22 January 2023
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4 October 2023 - 6:25 pm
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So young and what a ride huh? My Lacey is 5 years old. Today I’ve been reading about therapy afterwards. I wondered why we didn’t do it but I followed my vets advice and I do feel lucky so far. We were diagnosed, found this site, amputated, chemo then here we are two months later. The only difference I see in her is she’s missing a leg.  I am so grateful and I know we are lucky so far. 

Chemo went well but we noticed her appetite wasn’t as good the first few days after. We were monitoring everything about her. LOL we still do. Good luck to you and know you’re not alone. Nowhere near alone. 

You said it best, every dog is different. We all hope for the best. It kind of smacks you in the face and says “THIS is what’s important”. And I thought work was for so long…

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