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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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Picking up my Tripawd this afternoon
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25 June 2010 - 11:41 am
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My 8.5 yr old black lab was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma last week.  We decided to have the back hind leg amputated.  Surgery was yesterday and I am supposed to pick him up later this afternoon.  


I am not sure what to expect.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Forum Posts: 150
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7 June 2010
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25 June 2010 - 12:18 pm
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Other people have been at this a lot longer, but my dog had his amputation 2 weeks ago and I picked him up 2 days later. For me, the experience was pretty emotional due to the unknown, but Charlie did very well. Has your dog been walking/hopping yet? Charlie was walking about 12 hours after his surgery to go potty, so that helped. He walked up the ramp and into the car when I took him home. Because of the pain meds, he wasn't really 'normal' but after a few more days of rest, his spirit and energy were 100x better (and so was mine).

Lots of love and low stress for the dog (and you too!) during this time. You'll get lots of advice and wisdom from this site.

Take care,

VQ & Charlie

"I don't know where I am."

Las Vegas, Nevada
Forum Posts: 4344
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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25 June 2010 - 12:36 pm
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Welcome Onyx!

I'm so sorry about the diagnoses of your fur baby.  But we are glad you are here!  Please consider registering with us so that your posts will automatically show up and do not have to be approved first. 


The next two weeks are going to be ruff  but it will get better!  Your pup will go through some major healing and it can be trying at times.

Here is a good place to start reading to help you along.  You'll find out what to expect: Jerry's Required Reading for New Tripawds

Plus, we are here to help you!  So, don't feel alone in this journey.  The recovery is daunting but after that it will be smooth sailing - er... I mean, hopping!


Comet's mom


Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

25 June 2010 - 12:56 pm
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thanks for the encouragement.


Cometdog, I thought I signed up for the site.  do I need to do more than put in an email address and user name?  I was sent a numeric PW with the blog portion.

Forum Posts: 524
Member Since:
10 March 2010
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25 June 2010 - 1:30 pm
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Oh I hate welcoming new people because of the reason....but you have come to the place that will save your sanity.

Here I go with my two suggestions:  Get a Ruffwear harness to "help" save your body and help your furkid in and out of cars and up stairs if necessary.  It is almost an essential!  Get non skid runners for any slippery places, lino, tile, in your house.  Also look at your exits to where he will go potty and see if ramps are necessary or can he do steps just fine.

The first two weeks are question about it.  But come here often and you will get support like you have never dreamed of.  Good luck on this journey and keep us posted!

Sometimes the pain meds can make them a little "strange" but if that happens, talk to your vet about changing the med.  Also talk to your vet about when you can use the harness, some vets want to wait til staples are out.


Palm Desert, California
Forum Posts: 123
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8 February 2010
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25 June 2010 - 1:56 pm
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Welcome to a site with lots of information, great support and of course our wonderful dogs. The first two weeks are the worse by far but you will survive them knowing your dog will be better for your support.  I agree with the Ruff-Wear harness, it really makes it easier, but don't use it during the first couple of weeks as the surgery site will be too sore; we used a sling that our Vet provided to give Rusty support for going out to his box for the first few days, then he quickly was motoring around, a little wobbly, on his own.

If you would like a blow by blow description of what we went through with Rusty's amputation in January please read my blog  I have chronicled Rusty's cancer from diagnosis, through surgery/recovery and now Chemo therapy.

Good Luck!


Chuck & Rusty

Rusty is a Labradoodle who was diagnosed with level 3 Fibrosarcoma on January 16th, 2010 and had his left hind leg amputated on January 25th, 2010 five days before his 18 month birthday. Please see Rusty's blog  He is putting up one heck of a fight against this terrible disease.

25 June 2010 - 3:37 pm
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Onyx is home.  Getting around pretty well when he wants to.  just he does not really seem to want to.


He seems very uncomfortable and unsure what to do.

Forum Posts: 150
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7 June 2010
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25 June 2010 - 3:49 pm
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It will take some time. Big surgery. We are here if you need any support or have any questions.

"I don't know where I am."

25 June 2010 - 4:57 pm
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Our dog, PEZ just had her leg amputated on Tuesday.  We got her back last night and let me say…. IT WAS A LOOOONNNNGGGGG NIGHT!!! oh-my

What meds did they give you for pain?

Wesley Chapel, FL
Forum Posts: 1104
Member Since:
13 September 2009
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25 June 2010 - 6:38 pm
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Hi Onyx,

Welcome to Tripawds! I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis and surgery... but you have definitely found the right group of friends and support!!! As everyone has already mentioned... the first two weeks can be hell... with all the pain meds (making your dog loopy and weird), to recovering from a big surgery... to all the unknowns... It's stressful for all involved! But you will get through it...

Keep us posted with your furbaby's progress! BTW, what is your doggie's name? Onyx?

Angel 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… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Forum Posts: 3754
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25 June 2010 - 7:26 pm
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Welcome to our little group.  We would prefer all our new members not have cancer, but if you do that's ok, 'cause most of us do too!

The recovery period is not fun, but you will be amazed how quickly the new tripawd will adapt.  Don't forget to get plenty of rest.  It is easy to get caught up in the happenings and you find yourself watching them sleep instead of napping while they sleep.  You need ot be rested and strong.

Hang in there, you guys will be fine.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Forum Posts: 731
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1 January 2010
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25 June 2010 - 8:59 pm
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Welcome to tripawds!  We're so sorry to hear about your dog, but are glad you found us.  Like everyone has said, the first two weeks can be full of ups and downs.  Your pup will probably need plenty of rest, and lots of love.  Be strong for your pup - he will take his cues from you.  We're here for you - please keep us posted.  Holly is a rear amp also - our vet had us ice her incision 3 times a day with a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a light towel.  She seemed to really like that - we held it on her with very little pressure, and the coolness seemed to soothe her.  You might want to check with your vet to see if that would be ok for your dog.

Best of luck!  


Holly, Zuzu and Susan

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12470
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25 June 2010 - 10:15 pm
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Welcome and thanks for joining. We're sorry to hear about Onyx's diagnosis, but glad you found us. If you have not already, bookmark Jerry's Required Reading List for lots of canine cancer and amputation recovery tips and advice. Review the Featured Tripawds Blogs for the best product recommendations to make life on three legs easier, and use the forum search above for any specific concerns you may have. You'll find that many questions and concerns have been addressed here as well.

Can't wait to see some photos! You'll find a link for uploading your user avatar in your forum profile above.

Minneapolis, MN
Forum Posts: 97
Member Since:
23 May 2010
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25 June 2010 - 11:49 pm
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Welcome to you and Onyx! You found us at the right time to receive oodles of concern and support while you go through this. Each dog is very different and heals at his or her own pace. Just take your cues from him while maintaining an upbeat and encouraging attitude. If you're OK, he'll be OK. My yellow lab, Daisy, had her surgery just after turning 12, and her recovery has been nothing short of amazing. If you'd like to read about her, especially how she's doing 5 weeks post amp, go to my blog: You'll see a picture of her after she's been swimming.  way-cool

Keep in touch!

Daisy, 12 years young, had left forelimb amp on 5/19/2010 due to osteosarcoma. She left her body behind and joined the other spirit tripawds on 7/16/2010.
So grateful for each day with her!
Lexi (Daisy's momma)

Forum Posts: 431
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14 June 2010
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29 June 2010 - 3:23 pm
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I don't know if welcome is the right word, but I can at least say that I am in a similar situation.  My 8 year old black lab was diagnosed with a chondrosarcoma in the right rear leg, along with some other things that "might" have been mets.  We decided given the low risk of the chondrosarcoma spreading, and the fact that he wasn't in pain, to wait the recommended month to confirm that the "spots" in the lung CT were not mets, and to remove the other growth that they thought (and now confirmed) was benign.  Good news, no spread - bad news, we are now at the point of making the amputation decision.


Our doctors have presented definitive radiation as a viable  alternative, with only a "small" increase in the risk of metastases over the amputation.  Probably similar to your situation, the preferred treatment would be to remove the tumor, but because of the location they can't get margins without amputating.


Anyway, based on our relief at the "no mets" confirmation today, I don't know that we'll be able to live with the increased risk presented by radiation only treatment, so are likely to amputate next week.  You're a little "ahead" but maybe we can start a Black Lab Rehab post ...


Best of luck - if all my research is right, your guy should be up an playing in not too long ....and I don't know about you, but my fur baby prefers not to move if its over 75 degrees and 50 percent humidity - so try not to get too upset about this recovery period, I think they know when they need to rest.

Wishing you the best!  (we're in NYC, where are you?)


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