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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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New Member - We bring Radar home today
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Forum Posts: 289
Member Since:
26 July 2008
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26 July 2008 - 7:59 am
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Hi, I am new to the forum.

My boy Radar was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a week ago.  The large mass grew up around the distal end of the radius in only 4 days.  Our vet moved quickly and his foreleg was amputated yesterday (up to the shoulder).  Chest x-ray prior to the surgery was clear and lab work was all normal.  It is our hope that the vets fast response has caught this before it spread elsewhere.

We are scheduled to bring him home today.  I am nervous and excited but worry about what we can do to help him.  He is a happy and positive dog and I know that once he is past the pain he will adjust.  I worry about the pain factor and other then medication, is there anything I can do to ease his discomfort.

I am reading the success stories and they give me hope that he will have a long and healthy 3 legged life.

Forum Posts: 428
Member Since:
16 February 2008
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26 July 2008 - 2:35 pm
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Has Radar (what a cute name) come home yet? Hope things are well.

How old is Radar, what kind of dog is he?

He will be groggy and woozy the first couple of days, watch him so he doesn’t jump on and off the bed/couch until he gains the strength. Let him get all the rest he needs.

Perhaps wrap a bath towel around his chest when he hops, so you can give him a little support just in case he loses a step. The towel is gentler on the wound as oppose to a harness. When his wound heals up, a harness would be a good helper to assist him in situations like stairs, car, or even when he gets tired during a walk.

The residual anaesthetics, pain meds, and even antitbiotics usually will affect their appetite. They might get thirsty more often, and maybe won’t have bowel movement for a few days. These are pretty normal.

The important thing is to be strong on your part, put on happy face in front of him regardless how worried you are.

There are posts in the forums and a resource page on Jerry’s site about recovery, and what to expect after amputation. There are just a wealth of information you can find in here to help Radar and yourself to gradually adjust to his tripawd life, e.g slip-proof floorings, elevated water/food dishes, … etc.

All the best. Please keep us posted on how Radar is doing!



Forum Posts: 289
Member Since:
26 July 2008
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26 July 2008 - 4:14 pm
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He’s Home!!! Radar is a 5 year old Borzoi. You can see pictures of him here:

Right now all I have to say is OMG! My dog and my vet are both amazing!

At the time that we called this morning for an update, Radar was up and about. Amazingly enough he had held his urine and went pee outside when they exercised him with only a bit of help to steady himself. He got up by himself the moment he saw us. We steadied him with a towel sling and he walked (hopped) out to the van. He wanted so bad to jump up into the van by himself but here we stepped in. On the way home he rode quietly – moving himself over to the wall so he could lean against it. Dan stopped and got him a dish of soft serve ice cream which he enthusiastically ate, even though you could see he was tired. He is now laying on his dog bed next to my desk. He is drinking and even rolling over and getting up and down by himself to get comfortable. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

As for my vet…..WOW! She did the surgery late yesterday. The clinic was so busy that she waited until after office hours, turned off the phones, locked the doors and concentrated on my boy. They did a chest x-ray and lab work earlier in the day. She took the leg off all the way to the shoulder. she even pulled a bad tooth she saw while intubating him. Then she stayed until he was awake and drinking. This morning they helped him pee, fed and of course made sure he was still drinking and gave him pain meds.. Then spent time with us going over everything and gave us pain meds and antibiotics to take home with him. As we were taking him out to the van we started to talk to her about payment arrangements and I asked how much the total was. Can you believe it? She said the bill was "under" $500 Surprised I was speechless. She loves our dogs and has known Radar since he was born. Between Radar’s great attitude and resolve and a wonderful loving vet Radar couldn’t be doing any any better at the moment.


The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27797
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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26 July 2008 - 4:53 pm
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borzoid said:

I worry about the pain factor and other then medication, is there anything I can do to ease his discomfort.

You can remember that often dogs can cope with pain better than the freaky effects of heavy duty medicaitons. Some new tripawd companions mistake howling for cries of pain. After my surgery I only had lots of rest and Tramadol which I was weaned off of in a couple weeks.

They best thing you can do is act comfortable yourself. Be a strong pack leader, and be patient. To provide comfort and promote quick healing, consider a hot / cold pain relief pack

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27797
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26 July 2008 - 5:00 pm
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Wow indeed! Thank you for registering and sharing your story. Congratulaions, and keep us posted.

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

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Manchester, UK
Forum Posts: 210
Member Since:
2 February 2008
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28 July 2008 - 2:15 pm
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Hi and welcome *wave*

Radar is gorgeous!  I too have a Radar but mine is a medium size crossbreed (who had very large ears when he was a pup!).

It sounds as if your Radar is doing very well after his surgery Laughing

Sending good wishes from me and Darcy Deerhound across the pond!



Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

Forum Posts: 729
Member Since:
28 May 2008
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28 July 2008 - 10:46 pm
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Hi Radar – we’re so glad to hear that you’re doing well. Your doctor must LOVE you…what a wonderful gift – these surgeries can be very expensive.

Get lots of rest and savor all the new attention – LOL – I knew that mommy thought I was pretty special before, but now she uses words like "hero", "inspiration" and "wonderdog"

Mom got me off the painkillers as soon as possible – they made me pant…A LOT. She originally made the mistake thinking that the panting was a result of the pain, but it ended up being a result of being on the pain medicine – as soon as I had my bandage off, stitches out and off the meds, I was my old self again. Keep us posted on how you’re doing ok?!?!

It’s good to see you Jessie – hope you’re doing ok…we think of you often.

Much love everyone,


Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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