Adopting dog with prosthetic, any experience?

posted 9 months ago in Pets
Post # 2
Member
5004 posts
Bee Keeper

 Just wanted to say that you’re doing an amazing thing. He looks adorable. Animals with disabilities make great pets.

Post # 4
Member
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

My Dad has a dog with a very similar condition (back leg missing foot).  She does not have a prosthetic and still gets around great!  She can run like the wind too.  The only thing the vet cautioned us was to be extremely careful that she maintains a healthy weight in order to not cause joint issues later on.  Darling Husband and I also have a tri-pawed dog but she is missing a front leg.  She also gets around great as well.  From experience with both dogs, make sure you keep the dog’s nails trimmed well to aid with traction.  If you have a lot of hard floors in your home, the dog will also be more likely to slip but I’ve found our girl doesn’t slip if we keep her nails trimmed.  GOod luck!  He looks like a sweetie!

Post # 6
Member
1598 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

He’s adorable! Not exactly what you’re asking but we have a 3-legged dog (missing one of his hind legs). Dogs are incredibly resilient – I bet that without (and then with) the prosthetic, you will find him to be a normal dog 95% of the time.

Ours was found with bullets in his leg, and it had been so long that the leg had died. The rescue had the leg amputated, and we adopted him. Maybe it is that he got used to the dead leg, so he had no noticeable issues transitioning (we took him within a week of his surgery). Honestly when it’s to do with the hind legs, you almost can’t tell. Literally, our cleaning lady who comes once a month, about 2 years after she started working for us, shrieked and asked what the hell had happened to his leg. 

I’d say that the challenges we experience mostly (and I think you are likely to experience) relate to stairs. Ours can go up them, but when it’s a flight stairs, they can intimidate him at times. They may be too steep so he doesn’t always have the confidence, and of course there are times he gets too tired to climb them (and also on walks. You will have to build up). When that happens, ours has to be carried.

We have had him over 5 years at this point, and while he has gotten a lot better with stairs, about 6 months ago we were at my sister’s house, and he and I were climbing stairs (I was behind him) and he was so desperate to climb the steep stairs and he lost his balance. He was holding on for dear life with his front paws and couldn’t get footing with his hind one. Thankfully I was behind him, and despite my panic I was able to help him. 

Do you live somewhere where there are a lot of stairs? We currently live in a one story house, but when we first adopted him, we lived in a high rise and there were a few occaisions that the elevator went out and we were forced to carry him half way. Is this adorable guy a weight that he can be easily carried if he struggles with stairs?

 

i do not want to minimize your concerns, but truly, I think you will find that 99% of the time, you aren’t going to notice a difference between him and a “normal” dog.

 

Post # 7
Member
1598 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Also second what PP said. Our dog looks like a 45 pound dog, but we keep his weight around 30 and are encouraged to by our vet. We also try to do things with his diet generally to help with joints – fish oil, glucosamine, etc. 

Post # 9
Member
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

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hockeybee0104 :  As long as you start with shorter distances, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to hike.  I might invest in booties if you are going anywhere with rougher terrain just because it’s paw injuries are more worrisome in a tri-pawed dog.  

I concur with 

View original reply
libellules :  that you will find that 99% of the time he will be just like any other dog.  Our Lolli does not let the missing leg slow her down (she had to have it amputated shortly before she came to us).  She runs, she does fine on the stairs, she holds her own wrestling with her “brother” who is twice her size.  

Post # 10
Member
1598 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

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hockeybee0104 :  I mean these are all things to consider. Our dogs follow us everywhere, but when we go to my parents’ or my sister’s, our 3-legged dog clearly weighs whether or not he thinks my husband and I are going upstairs to stay for a while or not before he decides to joins us. He always manages to make the climb (with exception of that one incident from 6 months ago I mentioned) in a 2 story situation. But the high rise was a challenge When the elevator went out. 

Hiking – mild hike with a path or even uneven terrain, I don’t really see an issue unless there’s something to the prosthesis where it could get caught? Independent of that, our dog is like PP’s and runs like the wind through yards and walking paths (hell. Even stairs, after a day or 2 of living with them). I think you’d be fine, just maybe have to pay extra attention/take extra care with certain things. I’m sure you could foster him for a week and see how things go?

Honestly, our dog has other issues that are a much more significant inconvenience / limiting than the fact that he is missing a leg. Like storm anxiety. And a sensitive tummy 🤦🏻‍♀️. These disrupt things much much much more frequently lol. 

Post # 11
Member
37 posts
Newbee

While my dogs have all their legs and paws, they are all three special needs (1 has no eyes, 1 has neurological damage & limited vision from a traumatic head injury & 1 has a condition called megaesophaus that requires a special feeding technique), and I’ve frequently pet sat my friend’s 3-legged cat. If your adoption moves forward, I think you’ll find that animals are remarkably adaptable to their circumstances, and this dog may be able to get around well even without a prosthetic, though I think it’s very lucky that you have a vet specializing in this in your area since it keeps your options open. 

Like a previous poster, my primary concern would be weight management since excess weight puts extra stress on the joints, which would be amplified with only three legs. Flooring and stairs may be a learning curve, but I think you’ll find it to be a pretty quick adjustment for the little guy. That’s been my friend’s experience with her cat (who literally has no issues racing through the house or even jumping onto shelves/her 6 ft fence) and mine with my blind dogs who frequently race up and down staircases after about 2 practice runs…the main thing for me has been to make sure when we’re in a new home or yard with stairs that I show them where the stairs are located so they don’t fall down them because they don’t realize they’re there. My blind dogs also are remarkably good at remembering where the stairs are at the homes of friends and family who we visit even just every few months. 

In general I have found “hidden” special needs to be much more difficult to navigate than physical ones, which the dogs either self-adapt to or which can be 100% handled with training (this is the case for my little guy with megaesophagus who has to be vertical while eating and for about 30 mins after…my partner and I have trained him to prop his front paws on a dining chair for dinner and then to stay in that position until we tell him to relax, and that’s literally the only thing about him that’s different from a typical dog). For my dog with no eyes, we only need to make sure we give him a quick “tour” of new places or when we move furniture around, and everything else he has adjusted to on his own. On the other hand, my neuro atypical/vision imapired little girl has had some more expensive medical needs that we have to budget for and that aren’t covered by pet insurance since they are pre-existing, and she has also been slower to train and more prone to getting stressed out by new places amd experiences. She is still my joy in life (and honestly the dog I feel most closely bonded to), and I would tell anyone not to rule out adopting a neuro atypcial dog automatically…they require extra patience but are well worth it. 

I think you are right to seek out experiences from others, and I would definitely talk to the prosthetic specialist about things to consider, but in general, I would say that unless your lifestyle is such that you won’t be the best home for a three-legged fur baby or the considerations suggested by others add to your concerns, I would 110% encourage you to move forward. Special needs dogs are the best, and this guy is a cutie!!

Post # 13
Member
37 posts
Newbee

Haha really I’m just a big sucker. But like with most new experiences, your first special needs adoption is definitely the most intimidating…once you get through it, even if the “need” is different, the idea of adjusting a bit to it just isn’t as scary. As cheesy as it sounds, I almost can’t imagine adopting a dog without special needs now because I find my guys’ resilience and spirit inspiring (though we certainly have plenty of days where I need to dig really deep to remember that). 

Totally makes sense that socialization with cats is a potential dealbreaker. I don’t have cats or know a ton about them (my experience is limited to babysitting for friends) but my impression is that dog-cat socialization can be simpler than dog-dog or cat-cat as long as the cat isn’t fearful of dogs and the dog isn’t agressive or reactive towards cats. My neuro atypical girl has always done really well with my friends’ cats when they come to stay, but she and my megaesphagus guy legit wanted to kill each other at first and it took us months to socialize them in baby steps (they are now best friends so it was worth it). They both did relatively well adapting to my blind guy who is older and really just didn’t want anything to do with them…which is exactly the opposite of what I’d expected, but pet relationships are unpredictable. 

I really hope the logistics work out for you with this guy, but if not, I hope it’s because he gets a great forever home, and I’m sure you will be a great home for someone else coming into the shelter. 

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hockeybee0104 :  

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