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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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Praying that I'm doing the right thing!
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
17 May 2016
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17 May 2016 - 3:09 pm
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A year and a half post TPLO surgery……my Bubba has had constant problems. Developed MRSP shortly after surgery that has come back several times. Had to have plate removed and site open up 2 additional times for clean out. Had site reopened 2 weeks ago, and a new culture sent to the lab. Found out he has sarcoma. Started on pain meds and was doing well until yesterday, when I found him carrying his back right leg. Took him to the vet today. My 2 options were euthanasia or amputation. After a heart rending discussion with my son, we chose amputation. I’m am praying I made the right decision. I’m so worried about how he will do post amputation, and praying this will keep the sarcoma at bay. He is only 6 years old.

Here and Now

Forum Posts: 12341
Member Since:
25 April 2007
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17 May 2016 - 4:47 pm
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Welcome and best wishes for Bubba! Your future forums posts will not require approval.

The vast majority of dogs recover quickly and adapt well to life on three legs. Most cope much better than we silly people do. That’s why we like to say they are born with Three Legs And A Spare !

Honestly…our best advice is to Be More Dog . What Bubba needs most right now, is a strong balanced pack leader to led the way through recovery. He will sense your emotions and follow your lead.

Start here for help to get the most out of this community, or feel free to call the toll-free Tripawds Helpline anytime.

Please keep us posted.

Forum Posts: 14
Member Since:
4 May 2016
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17 May 2016 - 5:32 pm
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So sorry to hear this. But just remember you are he only one that knows your dog. 

Whatever you choose is the right decision, if your vet / surgeon gave you that option than they must think that it is a good option for your dog. 

I know what you are going through as my dog just had her leg amputated last Thursday.  


Forum Posts: 19877
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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17 May 2016 - 6:46 pm
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I know this is very scary and you are full of uncertainty and doubt. Everyone here understands. We also.understand the depth.of love you feel for Bubba and want to do everything possible to give him good extended.quality time free from.pain.

You are not alone, okay? We are right here by your side! clearly a spunky.and determined dog. He, and you, have been through a lot…a whole lot!! Sounds like he’s already used to walking around on three legs, even with pain. Now, he will be pain free!!

Recovery is no picnic for.a.couple of weeks. It IS major surgery! Your vet will probably send Bubba home with Tramadol, Gabapentin and Rimadyl and an antibiotic. He just needs complete rest, short potty breaks for a.good two weeks.

Is an Orthopedic Surgeon doing the operation? Have you spoken with an Oncologist? Usually the Surgeon keeps at dogs at least one night….as long as they have 24 hr care.

We have a Helpline. 1 844 TRIPAWDS. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you in anyway.

Remember, Bubba isn’t worried about a thing!! He doesn’t care about days on a calender and he doesn’t care about any ole’ diagnosis! He only cares about the NOW, in the present with you and your son by his side! If you think you love and spoil Bubba now, wait until he becomes a tripawd!

Looking forward to cheering Bubba on as he starts living a pain free life and no.more surgeries!! Update when you can.

Love and 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!

Copperas Cove, TX
Forum Posts: 144
Member Since:
12 May 2016
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18 May 2016 - 7:20 am
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Dogs are absolutely amazing.  We are six days since surgery and Bandits adaptability is mind boggling.  I agree with the Be More Dog adage.  I really think that is applicable to our whole life.  Hang in there!

Minneapolis, MN
Forum Posts: 698
Member Since:
23 April 2016
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19 May 2016 - 8:37 am
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My boy Pofi is 2 weeks past amputation of left front leg for nerve sheath tumor which is a soft tissue sarcoma.  We went for a 1/2 mile walk last night and he was wearing the biggest grin when we returned!

His doctors all felt he would adjust easily because he had been partly lame on that leg for a long time and recently fully lame.  And they were right.

Best wishes.

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Forum Posts: 1451
Member Since:
2 April 2013
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19 May 2016 - 10:01 am
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Poor Bubba has been in pain for awhile now, you may be surprised at how he does.  In a couple of weeks he finally going to be pain-free!  Remember, this is something that you are doing FOR him, not TO him.  Recover takes a couple of weeks for most dogs, but after that, they usually do quite well.  Make sure to keep up on the pain medications around the clock for good coverage (although you’re probably a pro at that already).  He may not want to eat very well.  For Murphy I cooked some rice and poured chicken broth over it, then added some chunks of chicken to it.  Some have no trouble eating at all.  Is it a front leg or a back?  If you don’t already have one, you will probably want to get a harness.  You can check out the ones on the home page under gear.  Murphy had his right front leg removed and we use the Webmaster Ruffwear harness .  It now has an adapter to help prevent it from slipping as much.  We love that it has a handle on top – it comes in handy for helping him in & out of the car when we go places.

Keep in touch!  If you have any questions, concerns or just want to share updates, we’re here.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy 

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old. He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  
Read about Murphy's Life on Three Legs


Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
17 May 2016
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19 May 2016 - 10:55 am
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Bubba came home Wednesday evening. I helped him into the truck. He hopped out by himself. Has pooped and peed, navigated the porch steps, and was able to go out/in the doggie door. He has surgery pain, and I’m making sure to keep up with meds; but he’s getting around better than I expected. We’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor until he learns to jump in the bed again. Right now he’s snoozing with me on the couch. I helped him up there. I pray we can keep the cancer at bay! Chest X-rays were clear.

Tried to post a pic but couldn’t do it.

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 28326
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25 April 2007
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19 May 2016 - 11:03 am
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Yay Bubba! Glad to hear you’re home and doing so well.

Be careful with that bed though, especially if it’s high off the ground. Most rehab vets don’t recommend jumping off furniture or out of vehicles. If you can build a set of stairs for him for the bed, that would be a lot safer.

Here’s a post about adding images to the forums. If you’d like help just bark OK? Can’t wait to see ’em.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 19877
Member Since:
22 February 2013
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19 May 2016 - 11:29 am
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YAAAAAAAAAY FOR BUBBA!!!! Great update!! clap

And he’s pooping and peeing already!! More YAAAAAAAAAY FOR BUBBA!clapclap

He may kinda’ crash in a day or two as the hospital meds are out of his system by then. Keeping the pain managed can be a bit tricky sometimes.

Cheering for Bubba! Looking forward to those pictures!


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!

Forum Posts: 2010
Member Since:
14 February 2016
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19 May 2016 - 12:10 pm
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Great news!   You couldn’t expect better.   The next 10 or so days will be tough, but after the staples come out, he will probably amaze you!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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