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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Hi, I don't normally post here but I'm really desperate for advice, and I don't know if anyone on here has any experience with this. My dog Sabrina who is a 7 y/o Dogue de Bordeaux had her right rear leg amputated 8 months ago and she underwent chemo treatments. Up until a few days ago, she was doing the Metronomic Protocol and taking Cytoxan, Deramaxx and Doxycycline. We stopped the Cytoxan since peeing is necessary with that, but she's having mobility issues so we figured it was best to stop it.
Anyway, 3 days ago she tripped going up the steps, and she couldn't put any weight on her remaining back left leg. Ortho vet said it's a torn ACL and that she would need TPLO surgery. Is TPLO surgery a good idea on a dog with osteosarcoma? I've read that traditional surgery would be an option, and I've read that traditional surgery wouldn't be strong enough for a tripawd. I just don't know what to do…anyone else been in this situation? Thanks
Also wanted to add that while I can afford to spend the $4k on surgery (ok, not really, I'd have to charge it – we've probably spent $10k on her in the last year), I don't think we can afford so much after that like physical therapy, etc. I was able to build up a little savings and I still have a little credit card debt, but we really can't spend a lot of money because we're expecting twins late this summer AND I'm not going to be working anymore after that. We cannot let our savings get down to nothing or take on a crazy amount of debt. We live in NY, monthly expenses are insane. So I'd be fine with doing the $4k for TPLO surgery (and I think pet insurance might reimburse $1500 of that), but I don't think we'd be able to do anything additional after that like physical therapy, etc. This is if TPLO surgery would be a good option for her which I really don't even know about. All I read is that it's such a tough recovery so that's why I'm very hesitant about it. I don't want to put her through a lot of pain either. This is just the worst situation to be in.
Welcome Christine, please consider registering to take full advantage of these forums.
And be sure to review this Tripawds News blog post about three legged Chuy, who went through multiple remaining leg surgeries after amputation…
Finally, as a French Mastiff lover, you'll need to check out Rosie's blog!
Christine, I’m so sorry, that’s a ruff spot.
Have you gotten a second opinion from a certified rehab therapist or another vet? That’s where I would begin.
IMHO…I’m not a vet, but what I have learned in talking to vet professionals is that oftentimes vet surgeons will jump on the “gotta have ACL surgery” too soon (it also happens to be a moneymaker for clinics). What often happens in many cases cases is that the other leg will need to be done afterward too. The recovery is more stressful than the recovery for amputation from what I have heard.
The second opinion will be helpful, especially if you can talk to a highly skilled, certified rehab therapist. I have talked to professional rehab therapists who have helped many dogs recover from ACL injuries without surgery. It takes dedication and at least 4 to 6 months of regular sessions, but it can be done. Another benefit of working with a rehab therapist on this is that you and your dog will learn how to stay strong and fit and avoid that second ACL repair surgery that often follows a first one. But you absolutely have to make sure the rehab therapist knows their stuff. Contact the Canine Rehab Institute to find one near you.
just something to consider.
I'm so sorry to hear about your pup. And then the additional problems of the ACL just sucks!
I did the TPLO on a 3 legged dog (birth defect front leg). I did it not once but twice on both back knees. I can tell you from experience, that it was living hell having it done a tripawd. I didn't do rehab because no one suggested it.
I personally would rather poke needles in my eyes than do it again! It takes a good 12 weeks before you can let your dog walk. My vet casually told us to not let her use the leg for 8 weeks! The bone has to heal and how are you suppose to that on a tripawd? My husband and I carried Comet the first time for 8 weeks. The second time, we made a rolling crib/crate. And she lived in for almost 12 weeks.
I can only tell you a layman's point of view but if your pup has OSA, I would avoid the surgery. I would buy a stifle/knee brace or something of that nature like Cooper's dad was considering.
I'm not even sure bone surgery is a good idea on a dog that has cancer. I'm not a doctor or vet but it just sounds like a bad idea.
And the surgery does come with risks. I had a 4 legged dog “throw a clot” after a ACL repair and she died while we were in the lobby waiting to pick her up to go home.
I wish you the best of luck and I'm hoping for a great outcome!
Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that it was a horrible recovery. I had just read encouraging things about tripawds having TPLO surgery and was contemplating it, but now I have doubts again. Sabrina can basically not walk at all right now on her leg. She can walk for a few steps, and she has to stop and take a break. There's a clicking sound. I have been hearing that after TPLO surgery, a dog should be able to walk by 2 weeks after but that their activity just has to be restricted and that they should be normally walking by 3 months. I want to do what's best for her long term because it's just going to be crazy around here in a few months when the babies come. If this surgery means Sabrina would be walking normally in a few months, it would so be worth it. It's not like she can walk a little right now, she really can't walk at all without having to go a few steps, then stop and so on.
I will look into a certified rehab therapist…thanks.
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22 August 2008
How much does she weigh? Is she overweight? Many vets think that a TPLO surgery gives a better outcome in the long term but aftercare can be difficult due to the metal implants.
My English Mastiff Tazzie weighed 190# and had both of her ACL's fixed with the traditional lateral suture approach and she healed very well both times. She had her RF leg amputated a few years later due to OSA and both of her knees held up well. I know that it is a little different when your dog has the ampujtation first but I would ask your vet about the lateral suture. There is also a newer technique called the tightrope procedure that also does not involve a metal implant.
Hi, I've created an account. Tazziedog, she is 90 lbs. right now. She's pretty muscular, but she did gain a few lbs. She' s not overweight really though. Before amputation, she was like 95 lbs. After amputation, she went down to 78 lbs. due to her losing a leg and not really having an appetite during her recovery. I think she could definitely afford to lose 5 lbs. though. Probably my fault since I stick cheese in her food to get her to eat because she can be picky sometimes.
I was thinking about traditional surgery since it's not as invasive, but it could still give her some stability now. Was the traditional surgery a tough recovery for Tazzie? Do you think it would be strong enough given that Sabrina puts all her weight on that one back leg? My vet does the traditional surgery but he was going to talk to other doctors about it because he wasn't sure what the best thing was for a tripawd. Like me, he really wasn't thrilled with the idea of TPLO surgery and thought that it's kind of radical for her situation. He said they have materials they use that are strong enough for big dogs.
Hi, I've created an account.
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10 February 2011
There is also a newer technique called the tightrope procedure that also does not involve a metal implant.
This is great news Pam! I didn't know about that procedure and now I won't be so freaked out when someone says “ACL surgery”!
There are some good reports about the procedure that I found. We always learn so much from you!!
Here are some links that discuss it. I hope this will be an option for your pup Christine, and all other Tripawds who may need it.
The most recent refinement of the technique is called the Tightrope Procedure, named after the hardware that is used. Modeled after a technique for repairing ankle injuries in humans, an ultra-strong 21st-century braided material is implanted through holes drilled in the bones themselves to take over the function of the damaged ACL.
In my hands, the Tightrope Procedure provides significant advantages over some of the older LI techniques. I find that most of my Tightrope patients walk out of the clinic the day after surgery better than they walked in. The Tightrope Procedure is still quite new, and long-term follow-up is not available, but so far it seem to be outperforming the previous LI procedures, and short-term it seems to be outperforming the TPLO in many cases.
. . . the Tightrope costs less, currently from $900 to $1,100. This is more than some of the older LI techniques because of the cost of the new implants. However, it is worth it because of the superior performance of the new implants.
Yes! Comet was great after having both knees done. From my understanding bones take about 6months to heal so I was cautious for 6 months and after that, I didn't care what she did! She had bionic knees (in my mind)!
And for some strange reason, I never worried about her good front leg and most folks here do. And it's strange because I worried about everything and probably should have but oddly didn't!!!!!!! I guess I felt she knew how much pressure the front leg would endure since she was born that way. Dunno.