If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
I've recently started looking for a new dog to bring into my life and I've become comitted to the idea of adopting a tripod. I've spoken with my vet and done some research online and the general answer I keep getting is some variation of "Once they heal from the amputation, they're just fine!" Forgive me for sounding dubious, but that just seems too easy. I know that keeping extra weight off is extremely importiant, but I was wondering if you lovely folks could offer me some advice. Are there any questions I should be sure to ask? Things I should look out for? Issues I might expect in the future?
I have actually put in an application to adopt a beautiful year old tripod girl. She had her right rear leg amputated at the hip in early September because the bone was shattered when someone shot her Her foster Mom says she is healed and getting around well, but that she gets tired out very easily. Is this normal? Is her endurance likely to increase as she continues to heal? I know I that every dog is different, but I have no experience in this and am curious about what I can expect, if I am allowed to adopt her.
Thank you for your help!
Hi Valens's Mom,
I mainly wanted to say "Welcome!" The truth is, in so many cases the people who come here with a dog having an amputation do not stay around because life goes back to normal, maybe that is why there are few replies.
The Cassie's Three-legged Dog Club website (with info on what to expect) is great:
Tripawds.com is another fine website dedicated to tripod dogs. Many of them are cancer survivors, but the information would still be helpful.
What little I know about amputation is that dogs carry the majority of their weight on their front legs, so a rear amputation does not affect weight bearing as much.
I'm assuming she is a medium or large breed, like a lab maybe? Congratulations, and I hope your application is approved!
I was going to mention this but saw that Carol already did. Yes, they do bear most of their weight on their front legs. I had a tripod cat with a front leg removed and he did just fine for the seven years we had him. He recently passed from old age and what we suspect is a brain tumour. He never had a problem getting around and jumped up to the highest places. I still have a rear tripod cat as well and he has flourished since I got him six years ago and never shows signs of distress and he had to basically have his right rear side rebuilt even after the amputation. As for the dog's fatigue, it could be due to getting used to redistributing the weight to walk. Eventually the muscles will built up on the good side. If the fatigue does persist, I would guess it to be not from the amputation and personally would have some blood work done, but I am not a vet. As well, depending on the breed and age of the dog, you could possibly try to add glucosamine to the dog's diet to help maintain the joints on the good rear leg. I would also periodically ask for X-rays for the rear leg to watch for dysplasia. At that point, if the remaining hip joint did become dysplasic, you would be looking at a wheelchair but even that is very manageable these days thanks to Mark and his Walkin' Wheels and that would likely only happen, if at all, later in the dog's life.
Thank you Carol and Lisa!
The statement that people "do not stay around because life goes back to normal" is incredibly reassuring.
Thanks for the links, Carol. It tripawds is exactly what I was looking for!
I'll be in touch and let you know what happens with my adoption.
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