Home
Healthy Living
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Keeping Your Three-Legged Dog Healthy
Pages:

Pages

“The vets tend to think of it as a useless limb and amputate way up at the top. That makes it almost impossible to build a prosthesis. We need at least one joint in order for the animal to be able to operate” with a prosthetic limb. Kaufmann explains that since this is a new field and he is one of only a few people doing this type of prosthetic work, not many vets know of this option. But he is trying to spread the word. “For limb preservation, it’s important to salvage as much of the limb as possible, or as many joints as possible.” If the limb has already been amputated at the top, he recommends having the dog use a cart to maintain the weight distribution on the leg that’s left. “Compounding forces on the remaining leg can cause arthritis from overuse. If the animal loses the remaining leg, what does it have left?”

Whether a dog loses a leg due to trauma or disease, most often he or she will bounce back and learn to adjust. As Sheila Wells points out, dogs don’t have the same stigma that we would have about losing a limb. “Some don’t ever notice their leg is missing,” she says. “Usually a leg that has been taken off has been painful for a long time and the dog is already used to not using that leg. When they get it removed, their whole demeanor changes because they can run around without being in pain. There’s no reason a three-legged dog has to be disabled.”

 

Pages:

Pages

Print|Email
This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 37: Jul/Aug 2006
Dana Standish lives in Seattle; her previous articles for The Bark include "Sleeping with Dogs" (Spring 2004) and "Three Legs to Stand On" (July 2006).

More From The Bark

Dogs Can Make Children Healthier
By
Claudia Kawczynska
By
The Bark
Dog Getting Groomed
By
Chloe Conrad
More in Healthy Living:
Vet School Profile: Colorado State University
Sleeps with Dogs
Pounds Off Pups
Dog Grooming Tips for Summer
Second Opinion: Barbecue Blues
Fleas and Ticks
Protecting Your Dog Against Foxtails
Summer Dogs Checklist
Fight Back Against Environmental Allergies
Hydrotherapy: Dog Walk in Water