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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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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
19 November 2019
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19 November 2019 - 12:42 am
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Hi all –

I’m new here. My pit/boxer Kasey just had his left front leg removed today. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He is home tonight and totally out of it…  which is a good thing because I am kind of overwhelmed. I’ve read a lot and my vet has been great with information, but man on man, this is scary stuff. 

Got all the meds and will start those tomorrow. I guess I’m just looking for advice from some of you who have already navigated this path. Like, what’s the best way to help him the first few days? What’s the best kind of harness to help with stability?

I’m really thankful I stumbled upon this site. I was just browsing late at night as I sleep on the floor next to my boy.


The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27267
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25 April 2007
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19 November 2019 - 10:43 am
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Hi Kasey and Mom, welcome. We are sorry you had to be here but we are ready to help! Your future posts won’t need approval so post away.

First, know that you are not alone. You can always call the Tripawds Helpline or hop over into the Tripawds Chat to see if anypawdy is home. You can Private Message me and I will meet you there too if you’d like. And post in the Forums, ask as many questions as you’d like, that’s why we are here.

Coming home the same day of surgery is not easy but you are doing it! And it’s much better than leaving him alone all night at the clinic. So what kind of pain medications did he come home with? pain management is critical during the first couple of weeks, it’s important he has all that he needs to be comfortable. If he is showing any signs of anxiety or unease let your vet know immediately. He may need more pain meds or have his current ones fine-tuned.

The best way to help him during the first few days is to let him rest. Don’t force him to go to the bathroom more than his usual number of times in a day. He may go less right now, as pain meds cause constipation. Be patient. 

And be as strong and pawsitive as you can. You will set the tone for recovery and he will reflect back whatever you put out there. The more pawsitive you are, the easier it will be for both of you. 

Do you have any help? Just wondering.

Also, see our Tripawds e-books library if you haven’t already, and our What to Expect articles for answers to many of your questions.  Stay tuned for more feedback from the community!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 922
Member Since:
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19 November 2019 - 6:21 pm
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Hi kasey and mom,

My brownie also had Front leg amputation. He had no issues with recovery and was walking on his own his 2nd day home. Even though i was worried sick I stayed happy  and positive when I was a round him. And lots of belly rubs!

As far as the harness I have read you shouldn’t use one until the stiches come out. I have seen some that will cut a shopping bag or use a large towel as a sling. We use the new flag line harness. It is a life saver. It is a great help getting Brownie up and in to the car, or when we are on a walk and he needs a little help. He is a senior tripawd. You can find it on this site under the gear forum. Also, it is so light brownie can wear it all day.

Sending good thoughts your way for a speedy recovery!

My Beautiful Beloved Brownie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on February 26, 2019.  With all odds against him he lived an additional one year and eight days with amputation, love, and prayer.  I was honored to be his mom, and I have never been so proud!  He will live forever in my Heart!

Brownie Bubba Bell

04/01/2007 - 03/05/2020

"March Saint"


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19 November 2019 - 6:52 pm
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Welcome to the family Kasey.  Can’t  wait to see pictures.  Here’s  a link to help  adding images .

Ditto the advice you’ve been given.   And yes, coming home the first night can be rough on so many levels.  Kasey will br shaking off the anesthesia,  still be druggy and confused from the hospital pain meed, all while trying  to figure out a new gait.

What pain meds did she come home with?  Usually  we see Gabapentin,  Tramadol , Rimadyl and an antibiotic.  Some dogs come home  with a  pain  patch.  Keeping her pain managed  consistently  is important.   Sometimes not takes a bit of tweaking  under your Vet’s guidance.

 Drinking  and peeing  are important  (even if it’s  in her bed), eating and pooping  may be off for a few days.  Some dogs sleep a lot (which is good), some are more restless.

If you have hardwood floors, you’ll want nonslip scatter rugs for traction . Lots of gentle massage up and down her spine, her neck and shoulder area, can help relax  her muscles that are adapting  to a new way of being mobile.

Stay connected.   We are right here by your side to help uou get through  recovery  and onto better days!


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: 26
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15 November 2019
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20 November 2019 - 8:09 pm
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We are in week two after eva’s surgery. She was pretty sleepy the first few days and we just tried to keep it quiet for her to sleep We gave her a spot in the living room where she could rest and we were all together. 

She wasn’t really into eating much but we cooked steak chicken and other things in an effort to help he find some thing she wanted. We did a shopping bag sling but after the first day she didn’t really use it. We were really on top of the timing for her meds for the first few days and the adjusted them after the fourth day when she perked up. She also like the back massage 

Forum Posts: 2
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26 November 2019 - 8:14 pm
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Hi All – thank you so very much for your kind words and your encouragement! We’ve been pretty pre occupied the last few days so haven’t been around here. But…all is going well. You were all right – he slept until the drugs wore off and by day 2-3 he was navigating the yard out front and doing his thing. In fact, on Wednesday, he went a little rogue and started galloping around the yard. It was encouraging! He pooped on Thursday and has every day since. He is eating pretty good. But let’s be honest, that’s probably because I’m giving him whatever he wants :).

The meds he was sent home with were Gabapentin, Tramadol, and Galliprant. Since we are only a week post surgery, I have stuck to the schedule pretty stringently. We have an appointment on Friday with the doc for a recheck and for Kasey to get his stitches out. At that point, I will check with him about how to proceed. I think we have kept on top of the pain pretty good so far. There was one night where he was restless and panting quite a bit – but other than that he seems to be doing good.

As for energy, now that he is up and around, he seems to be oblivious to the fact that he is missing his left front leg. He just motors. I’m trying to keep him calm but he is an active dog.

Today we had our first appointment with our oncologist. She was amazing. She is waiting for the pathology to come back and then we will get a chemo protocol in place. She did set us up with a plan to make sure that Kasey stays healthy in his other three limbs – slowing any arthritis progression and keeping his joints healthy.

So, I think we are going to be ok. That first night, I was overwhelmed, sad, questioning what I had done, hoping for the best, and generally too much in my own head. Today, I have some perspective. I’m so happy I have found this site and all of you. It’s a group no one wants to be a part of – but thankful to have others to lean on. Oh and yes, I do have help. My husband is right there in it with me. He is the calm one 🙂

As for the harness, I was going to wait to use it till after his stitches come out and the site has a bit of time to hear. We do have stairs though – carpeted – and he has already made a run up halfway twice! We are keeping him on the fist floor for now – but that’s only going to last so long. I had seen one here on the site that was specific for front limb amputees. Any of you have experience with that one or one you all prefer?

Thanks again,

Stephanie & Kasey

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27267
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26 November 2019 - 10:46 pm
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Stephanie it’s so good to hear from you! No need to apologize, we totally understand how recovery is so consuming. We are just glad things are good. Of COURSE you are all going to be OK!

I had seen one here on the site that was specific for front limb amputees. Any of you have experience with that one or one you all prefer?

None of the harnesses in our store were made specifically for Tripawds, but the ones we carry are the ones that work best for amputee pets. I think you might be referring to the Ruffwear Flagline harness? If so, we love it for front leg amputees, and we are getting lots of good feedback about it from other front leg amputee parents. And yes, it’s a good idea to wait to use it until stitches come out. But if you must have him do stairs, then you can try using it but put a t-shirt on underneath the harness to minimize the risk of chaffing. Does that help?

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

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

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