Dog Leg Amputations: Are Three Legged Dogs Happy? - Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy
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Dog Leg Amputations: Are Three Legged Dogs Happy?

Dogs are highly adaptable animals and can often live a happy and normal life after having a leg amputation. Rear leg amputation in dogs is more common and are easier for the dog to compensate, as they already bear more weight on the front limbs. Front leg amputation in dogs can be a little more challenging as they rely more heavily on weight bearing in the front limbs. However, dogs are resilient animals and most adjust to live a normal and happy life.

Reason for Dog Leg Amputation

Most dog leg amputations are due to osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone that can cause pain and lead to fractures. Wound complication, severe trauma, or a birth defect may be a few other reasons for a dog to have a leg amputated.

Dog Leg Amputation Aftercare

It’s important to properly care for a dog after having a leg amputation. Your veterinarian will give you special instructions on how to do so. Aftercare generally includes ensuring proper hygiene and care for the wound to prevent infection. It’s important to follow your vets’ instructions on follow up and medication. They also may require some type of confinement to allow the wound to properly heal. Activities like running and jumping are often off limits.

After a dog has undergone a leg amputation they need to relearn to function normally again. This is where a canine physical therapist can really come in handy. They will help your dog to learn to balance and function normally on three legs and do so in a safe manner. In addition, proper strength must be built up in the remaining limbs. They also offer advice on any assistive therapies, such as a carpal wrap if necessary. A good canine physical therapist will also prescribe you at home exercises and mobility work to keep your dog healthy, strong and flexible.

Overall, three leg dogs can live a healthy and happy life. They just need proper care and attention. Canine physical therapy is a huge part of this care. For further questions ask to talk to a canine PT on the phone: