TRIPAWDS: Home to 16188 Members and 1776 Blogs.

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.

Join The Tripawds Community

Learn how to help three legged dogs and cats in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free and get full member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Live Chat and much more!


Be More DogNEW! Be More Dog – Learning to Live in The Now

Get the new book by the Tripawds founders for life lessons learned from their Chief Fun Officer Jerry G. Dawg! Download the e-book, and find fun Be More Dog apparel and gifts in the Be More Dog Bookstore.

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
When does it get better??
sp_NewTopic Add Topic

Forum Posts: 6646
Member Since:
21 May 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16 December 2016 - 2:37 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Conan & family heart

Just saw your thread and am so glad the surgery went well and he is bouncing back !

Everybody has given you really good advice already so just want to wish your boy a swift recovery.

My girl Eurydice had her amputation 7 1/2 months ago and like most dawgs she got better and better as soon as stitches came out which should happen not long from now for Conan, no?

You are both doing great !

Sending you a big hug and cuddles to your cutie heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Forum Posts: 1448
Member Since:
2 April 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16 December 2016 - 5:56 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I think it’s my biggest pet peeve when vets don’t give enough pain medication!  ugh!!!

Murphy came home one Tramadol, Gabapentin & Rimadyl – and he took all 3 for 2 weeks, weaning down at the end of the 2nd week.  Some take their meds into the 3rd week.  Not just a “couple of days!” 

This first couple of weeks is really a roller coaster of emotions, but yes, it WILL get better.  Pretty much everyone here will tell you that yes, they would go back and do the surgery again.  Remember that you did this for him, not to him.


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: 14
Member Since:
23 November 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16 December 2016 - 8:09 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hope things are starting to look better. Every dog is a bit different with the recovery. FWIW we were prescribed for a 60lb dog 75-100mg Tramadol every 6-8 hours, 200mg Gabapentin every 8-12 hours, and told we can keep giving 37.5mg Deramaxx 1x day (optional) that she got preamp. We went home with plenty of tramadol and gabapentin and still have some left over after day 15 post amp. For first 2 days home was at the max end of range and shortest time interval. After that we tapered by simply not waking her up for the meds, which got us down to the just beyond the max time interval above through days 3-6.  Then we tapered further from there and now 15 days after amputation she gets one (100mg) Gabapentin and one 50mg Tramadol as needed, maybe once a day for each.

Amputation is a big deal, while the dogs do bounce back it takes a lot out of them and some dogs bounce back quicker than others. Our Nellie still isn’t herself, but mainly that is manifest by her sleeping a lot more and being less active. This is not a bad thing. Other dogs are more active than is good for them, some seem to have side effects (panting, anxiety) from the pain medications. It is different for each, so don’t worry too much if you journey doesn’t exactly match those of others on this board.

As far as regrets, I have tons of regrets and sadness that this osteosarcoma happened to our baby. It sucks to have to take off a leg to save our dog. It sucks that this probably means we have less time than we hoped to have with her on this earth. But the alternative was to keep increasing pain meds for lameness until her cancer-weakened leg finally broke in a few weeks (or a month at most) and put her down in pain then. There really wasn’t any choice, cancer took the leg, it was gone before the amputation. It had to go. I’m sure your situation was similar.

Forum Posts: 106
Member Since:
20 October 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17 December 2016 - 12:13 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I just want to chime in.  

My Rosie was on Rymadyl, Gabapentin and Tramadol around the clock until Staples came out at day 12.   We did the Rymadyl and Gabapentin at meal times.  Did the tramadol about 2 hours after breakfast and then every 6 hours 3 x a day.  

After the sutures were removed we cut the mid day dose of tramadol and by 2 weeks after suture removal only use it if showing pain signs.  

But she is still taking Rymadyl and Gabapentin.  Rymadyl for inflammation.  Gabapentin for nerve pain.  She had TPLO in August and arthritis so am wanting to keep her comfortable even though I am not sure she needs it.  

Nit telling you what to do, only sharing our story.  

Best wishes!!!! 

Kellye and Rosie the Wonder Tripawd!🐕❤️🐕


Forum Posts: 19687
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17 December 2016 - 7:26 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

I know you have your hands full. We are here for you no matter what. Just know that we are all thinking of you and really, really hope things are going okay.

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: 121
Member Since:
27 September 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
18 December 2016 - 12:43 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Pain meds are critical. I was told by the oncologists at the vet school that tramadol is a really safe drug to give dogs and I could give it every 6 hrs if I felt he needed it. I staggered it like Otis’ mom did (see this site IS useful) with the intention of keeping a consistent level of medication on board. Once pain hits, it is much harder to control, so preventing the pain from taking hold is key. Works the same in human medicine. Fionn could not have an nsaid, so he just had tramadol and gabapentin. The hardest part is knowing when to start tapering the dose down since our pups can’t tell us how they feel. The fact that tramadol makes them pant and so does pain makes it REALLY hard. In hindsight, I could have tapered Fionn down sooner because he was a zombie dog and part of the reason I thought I had made a mistake was the lack of life in his eyes. Once I started using less tramadol, my boy was BACK! I don’t regret doing my best to keep him pain free though. His surgery was Oct 6 and he only came off the gabapentin last week since he still had random yelps presumably from phantom limb pain. The last regular dose of tramadol was week 3 post op (and that was just 50mg twice a day at that point), but I keep some on hand for days where he might do too much activity and be sore.

Ask your vet about icing the incision and bruised area. I could tell Fionn really enjoyed it. FWIW,Fionn and I wrote a blog post every day for the first 2 weeks to give people an idea of what to expect. Every journey is different, but it helps to see that you are not alone in the struggle. We had some VERY challenging days. One post lists all the things I was glad I had purchased, had on hand just in case or found the most useful. Most of which was suggested by users here. The link is in my signature. I found wine

While I know Sally recommends chocolate, I found wine to be very helpful toowinker

Keep us up to date on Conan’s progress! We are here for all of you!heart

Nancy and Fionn

Nancy- mom to the FABULOUS Fionn. He rescued me in 2015 when he was 6. 

Right front leg amputation at age 7 for osteosarcoma 10/6/16. Taken too soon 6/12/17. Read about our journey here:

Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
21 December 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
21 December 2016 - 9:58 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hi Andreakyp, I am sorry I can’t help you with any advice, but I feel like I am in exactly the same situation.  What have I done to my poor Lou Lou?  She is a 12 year old blue Australian Cattle Dog X (medium sized dog – about 20 kg).  I got her home yesterday from a front right hand leg amputation. She had one night in hospital. She is bound up around her chest with bandages on her remaining front leg and one back leg (obviously where the drips went).  She is on one antibiotic twice a day (ilium/Cephalexin) and a very small amount of oral meloxicam,  which was meant to be for pain – from what I can work out it is for osteoarthritis in dogs and is sometimes given by drip after surgery.  It seems to be like ibuprofen for humans.  Doesn’t seem like it’s doing much for pain relief.  She’s hardly moving about at all, and whimpers constantly.  She whimpered all night.  

I know she has had a huge operation, and it’s a big thing to start learning to walk on 3 legs, but every one said “she will bounce back” and “dogs bounce back” and that I have done the right thing, but when should I expect her to start walking or at least trying to walk on three legs?  We are using a blanket (and two people) to carry her outside for toilet breaks.  She doesn’t seem to want to go outside, or be moved at all.

Please help?

Thanks Benny55 for your reassuring comments for the previous post.

I look forward to hearing from people!


Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 3969
Member Since:
18 October 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
21 December 2016 - 10:39 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Hello louloukate and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with amputation- why the surgery?

I don’t mean to sound harsh- but your girl needs pain meds!  An anti-inflammatory is not enough for this type of surgery. Most here come home with tramadol, gabapentin and an NSAID.  Some also have a pain patch. No wonder your girl doesn’t want to walk or do anything else.  Here is how you tell if you pet is in pain.  And here are the Current Guidelines for Pain Management.  Where are you located?

Most everyone says pups bounce right back but they never tell you about the recovery period- the first couple of weeks can be full of ups and downs, most of us went through the ‘what have I done’ phase, but it does get better.  Once you get Lou Lou’s pain under control I bet you will see improvement.

Please consider starting your own thread so we can learn all about your girl and answer your questions.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Forum Posts: 2010
Member Since:
14 February 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
22 December 2016 - 2:12 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Louloukate – I agree.  Most dogs come home with an antiobiotic, tramadol (an opiate), rimadyl and many with gabapentin as well.  My Otis did not have the gabapentin, but did have a fentanyl pain patch as well. Please call your vet for more pain meds!

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.

Minneapolis, MN
Forum Posts: 698
Member Since:
23 April 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
22 December 2016 - 6:00 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost


I agree – politely, but firmly push your vet for additional, appropriate meds.  Different med types cover pain in different modalities and that is why they work well together.  An anti inflammatory NSAID reduces the inflammation and helps that way.  An opiate like Tramadol works on the brain – blocks pain receptors.  And Gabapentin actually works in the nerves – soothes them when they are jangled (like after a major surgery).  

Sending very best thoughts for your pup to begin to feel better and you, too.

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: 19687
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
27 December 2016 - 10:21 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost

Update on Conan when you can.

And Lou Lou too

We worry about our family members.

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 Timezone: America/Denver
Most Users Ever Online: 946
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 108
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Newest Members:
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1103
Members: 11496
Moderators: 2
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 4
Forums: 23
Topics: 16518
Posts: 232266
Administrators: admin, jerry, jim
Moderators: betaman, krun15
Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.