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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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When a Tripawd Injures Its Other Leg...
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Member Since:
15 May 2011
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16 May 2011 - 4:17 pm
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So would you say the results of the TPLO surgery was worth the 12 weeks of recovery time for Comet?  I've read that dogs should be able to put weight on their leg soon after they have the surgery.  Was she in pain for all of those 3 months?  I just don't know if something like a brace would be good for Sabrina long-term because no matter what, she's gotta hop on that one leg.  There's no other back leg to shift her weight on.  And it's not like right now she could walk on it...she's at a point where she can walk a few steps but she has to stop.  She sort of holds up the foot like she did with other leg that had osteosarcoma (except that's not what's causing it this time).  It really bothers her.  There were times in the past where she strained her leg, she rested and could walk a few days later, but that doesn't seem to be happening now.  I hate seeing my sweet girl like this.  I'm on bedrest now so I can't give her my all right now which I hate.  Talk about bad timing.

Comet looks like such a cutie in her picture by the way! 

Las Vegas, Nevada
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16 May 2011 - 5:49 pm
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Oh sorry, I didn't explain...

No, Comet wasn't in pain after about 72 hours.  She had a morphine patch on but she didn't take anything but Rimadyl and antibiotics after 72 hours.  She also had a cast-type bandage for 3 days.  After it was removed, she could walk.  But the vets said to not let her use the leg.  Being that she would have to use it because her already being three legs, that's why we had to carry her.  The screws are in the bone and that's why the vet didn't want her to use the leg.  She could walk just fine.  That was the problem with the 8-12 week recovery.  It was a challenge to keep her from walking on it.

 

Using the suture method like Dr. Pam suggested would eliminate the bone healing, thus the recovery should be easier.  It should be a lot less expensive also.  Comet didn't have a choice because she was young and three legged and needed the stability in her knees long term.  She was 6 years old and 8 years old.  We had access to a specialists out of Iowa State who came here to Las Vegas and did the TPLO surgery but most vets do the suture method.

Sorry to hear you, yourself are on bedrest!   I know it's so hard to see our babies not doing well.  I had so many fears about Comet blowing out the second knee after doing the first one and it happened.  I was completely insane by the second one!

Comet was a cutie but she was more spunky and sassy than sweet which made here adorable!

Here is her first surgery in which she had a tremendous amout of brusing.  And on the second surgery because I was hysterical having to do it again, the same vet felt sorry for me and dolled her up with a pink bandage and wrote on it (she didn't have any brusing on the second surgery)!

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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.

In your heart, where I belong.
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16 May 2011 - 6:53 pm
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I had a 4-legged dog have the non-TPLO surgical repair, and she was forbidden to do much of anything for about 8 weeks. It was miserable, and she had both rear legs. All she was allowed to do was pee. And since that's how her ligament tore in the first place, I didn't really want her to pee for 8 weeks.

Am I insane for thinking it might be easier on everyone to just put a dog in this situation into a cart like Daisy has? I know that eventually scar tissue will form and the knee will become stable. It's staying off the leg while that happens that's a challenge. But renting a cart for a few months while the scar tissue is forming...Anyone have any thoughts? Again, I'm probably nuts, but I'm trying to think of what might be easiest on everyone, including a new mom balancing 2 newborns.

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

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16 May 2011 - 8:32 pm
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Aw, Comet does look like she was sassy, especially with her pink cast and bandana!

Would traditional surgery hold up for a tripawd?  Every day that I'm researching, I'm just no closer to figuring out a solution.  I think I'll do one thing, then change my mind, then think another and ultimately it just seems like there's no right answer.  At least with the bone cancer, there was one treatment plan and we knew what to do.  And she had 3 other legs in great shape.  I keep hoping every day that Sabrina will magically be walking better, and it'll turn out to be nothing but it's been 4 days and there's no improvement.  It kills me that she can barely walk right now and has just been sleeping in her bed.

I wonder the same thing Dakota Dawg.  It's so hard to keep a tripawd from using its leg at all and if it lost muscle mass from not using that leg, by using a wheelchair  how hard would it be to walk when it is finally healed?  There really is no right answer.  Every solution has its pros and cons.  And it is adding stress knowing that my hands are going to be full soon too. 


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17 May 2011 - 11:22 am
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Tazzie did recover well and could use the repaired leg within a few days.  It is still important to keep them quiet with the suture or tightrope technique so I leash-walked her for 2 weeks for bathroom breaks and she also did some rehab on the underwater treadmill.  I did not do a TPLO because our Dogue de Bordeaux Loki was only a pup at the time and I was so concerned that Tazzie would try to play and bend or break the metal implants. 

Because Tazzie was so big the vet who did her sugery put 7 or 8 sutures in her knee instead of just 1 or 2 to ensure that they would hold.  There were times that she ran around a little when she wasn't supposed to but the sutures held fine.  I had a board-certified surgeon perform her operation since she was so huge and I wanted the best result but many general practitioners can also do this surgery.  It should be noted that there have been rare reports of OSA showing up at the metal implant site and a small percentage of dogs get some nasty bone infections from the TPLO surgery but also pretty rare. 

We do both surgeries at our practice and many times people can't afford the TPLO so many dogs over 100 pounds have the suture technique and I have never seen one need a second repair due to rupture.  If you don't do anything surgical (brace or cart) the knee will heal with scar tissue but you will have much more arthritis in the joint due to the increased motion of the two bones rubbing on each other.

Pam

Las Vegas, Nevada
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17 May 2011 - 1:03 pm
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FYI - if you didn't figure it out Christine, "tazziedog" is a vet- Dr. Pam.

 

Dr. Pam, what would you do since she had OSA?  Is the immune system okay to go thru another surgery?   That's what would worry me.  But I don't know.

 

I'm with "Dakota Dawg", I'd probably try the wait and let scar tissue form.  Spend the $400 on a knee brace to help her get around. Sabrina won't be walking anytime soon with the suture method either.  I'd wouldn't consider the TPLO at all.  But then again, I'm not an expert. 

 

Pam, just out of complete curiosity why couldn't the Robert Jones bandage have been left on longer than 3 days in a 3-legged dog?  Or put back on for another week after the initial removal of it.  It was scariest thing to have that leg vunerable.  It's something that has bothered me all these years as to why I couldn't have kept it on longer.  My regular vet wouldn't let me and he did her after-care but he never explained why. 

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.

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17 May 2011 - 7:22 pm
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My vet spoke with other doctors and they were of the opinion that Sabrina would do best with TPLO surgery as opposed to traditional because the traditional wouldn't be strong enough.   Maybe because she would have to put all her weight on that one back leg?  But he also spoke with the surgeon that did Sabrina's amputation, and she doesn't think any surgery is a good idea.  I'm going to speak with her later this week and possibly have her see Sabrina, so I'll find out more then.   Honestly I don't think my husband wants to do surgery on her anyway.  I don't know if Sabrina could be more susceptible to infection either with her immune system.  But it's also possible it could get better on its own...she can walk a little but not much.  I don't know if that'll improve with some time to recover.  I was going to ask about the hydrotherapy, but only if it's like once a week because it would be hard to take her for more sessions than that right now.

The worst part is they don't think a brace would really work well for her being that she's a tripawd.  It might be more of a hindrance on her and cause her more problems when she walks.  This could be because a dog with 4 legs would probably just favor its other leg and not put so much weight on the brace leg.  Does anyone know of a tripawd who has done well with a brace on its only front/back leg?

I appreciate everyone's advice and support on here.  I'm just trying to keep my girl happy for now.  Unfortunately I can't spoil her with too many treats right now because I need her to lose some weight to make it easier for her. 

WYO
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10 February 2011
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17 May 2011 - 8:43 pm
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when I called and spoke to the surgeon who created the Atrac a Dr Splat, I believe. He said that they have sold at least 20 of the braces to tripawd dogs. With her being a rear amp I think it would something to discuss with them as far a the probability of it working for her as it is non refundable.I dont know how much nub she has but  they can also latch it another way and with her being a girl instead of a fella like Bud it would be more of a possibility. Your vet would have to measure her for you and help you adjust it and put it on when you get it. She would have to wear it everyday for several weeks until the tear healed and then you could use it as needed for extra support and strength for her.They also have replacement parts in case something breaks, you dont have to replace the whole thing and rods you can adjust, leave in or take out as needed. I would call and discuss it with them, decide whether or not you are comfortable with it.  My vet told me that if Bud had a tear that surgery was not an option at all for him and recommended this. We were lucky it was just swelling and not a tear. I'm sincerely sorry you are having to do deal with this. I wish you had more options, too! Listen to your inner voice and in the end you can only love your pup and do your best that you can do.

Portage Lake, Maine
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8 December 2009
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18 May 2011 - 6:49 am
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I just thought I'd post this helpful link I found when my dog was first misdiagnosed as an ACL injury before her amputation.  Good information on here.

http://www.tiggerpoz.com/

 

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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18 May 2011 - 9:21 am
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Great website Tracy, thanks.

Christine, if you can, talk to a certified rehab therapist. There are other types of therapy besides hydro, and hydro isn't the answer for most dogs' debilitating conditions. Many of the exercises they do in the clinic they can teach you to do at home.

So sorry you're dealing with such a tough decision. Keep us posted on your next consult.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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18 May 2011 - 5:09 pm
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Anjl, why did your vet say that surgery wasn't an option for Bud?  Was it because of cancer? Thanks for the info about the brace.  I e-mailed them for more info. 

I didn't see any certified rehab therapist that was located close by except for one who does in-home visits.  🙁  I e-mailed him to see if he travels to where I am but it looks like he was NYC based so I'm not sure.  There were two in NYC, but that is a bit of a trip from here to take Sabrina.  That's where I'm not allowed to commute for work anymore because of it being a long commute.

So for now, I think I'm just going to use a harness or sling on her, and see if it improves.  Because today she was walking in spurts here and there from one spot to another when we put her in another room of the house.  I'm hoping this means she can improve if given enough time.  And she was in such a good mood today too!  Playing with her toys, drooling when my husband was sneaking her some cheese.  So at least she is acting in better spirits. She was being pretty funny today.

I'll keep updated about her...hopefully I can have the surgeon possibly look at her next week and see what she thinks about Sabrina's injury.  Probably better off she didn't go for the x-rays today...rest right now is probably best.

On The Road


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18 May 2011 - 5:27 pm
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rest is a good thing, thanks for the update. Please do keep us posted.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

WYO
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10 February 2011
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19 May 2011 - 1:13 pm
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No Bud isnt a cancer pup. He had two reason for not being a surgical canidate one is that he is abnormally large and tall golden rear amp, the second is that Bud acquired MRSA which is a drug resistent infection "super bug" which we are still in the process of treating. He cannot have a surgery that could introduce any bacteria or have any kind of hardware placed in him that a free floating infection cell could attatch itself too. Not cancer but still a weakened immune system.

Wishing you and your pup the best. Glad to hear she has gained some mobility and comfort!

On The Road


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20 May 2011 - 12:10 pm
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Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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22 May 2011 - 8:07 pm
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Thank you for that article...it was very informative.

Sabrina's still doing the same.  She was doing really well a couple days ago.  And I was happy until I realized when I had increased her dosage of Deramaxx (which the vet said I could do), I was accidentally giving WAY too much for like 5 days.  I think that's why she was feeling so good 🙁  I'm glad I realized sooner rather than earlier...my mind has been so out of it the past week. 

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