Pets with Amputations

Limb amputations in pets certainly are not the end of the pet’s mobility or their happy life. We have all seen the videos of the little dogs that walk on their front legs, most animals are not these agile but 3 legged animals can function just as normal animals do.

Amputation of a limb is most often necessary because of severe trauma or a tumor that is large or invasive and may involve the bone. Pets will be on pain medication after the surgery and of course the limb will be bandaged. Recovery from this procedure is remarkably rapid. The smaller animals probably recover more quickly. Pets do not suffer the psychological trauma that humans do from losing a limb so this may aid in the recovery. Animals recover mentally from having a limb amputated in a week or so. It will take longer for them to recover physically but since they have 3 legs instead of just one left, they will regain mobility very quickly.

Sometimes the animal will lose two legs instead of one or the remaining limb may become weak from age related causes. There are wheelchairs and carts made for these circumstances. They do not provide full mobility but will allow the animal to exercise. If there is a remaining limb, it can rest while the animal is using the wheelchair or cart.

There are a few safety precautions and pointers for the 3 legged pet though. Watching the pet’s diet to avoid obesity is necessary, the owner should also observe the remaining limbs for signs of injury or stress. The owner should not let the pet overdo exercise and should protect the stump if there is one with a sock if needed. The pet should be watched when exercising on rough ground or going up and down steps. Supplements to promote bone and joint health should be considered for the pet with an amputated limb.

Above all a pet with an amputated limb is a special needs pet but they often do not realize anything is wrong or missing. Their lives are as full and happy as those of other pets are.