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They call it an “amputation correction”

Filed under: Uncategorized — biffngab at 2:52 pm on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our second tripawd, Biff, came to us with a small stump remaining of his left front leg. He has been with us now for almost two years, and the stump has become more of a problem. It has atrophied, and it pulls on his spine and puts extra pressure on his remaining legs. The muscles in his shoulder make him think he has a full leg, and that causes confusion in his gait. As you may or may not know, dogs put 60% of their weight on their front legs. Therefore, a stump in the back is not as much of a problem as a stump in the front.

After consultation with the vet and much deliberation, we decided to amputate the stump. The surgery was yesterday, and Biff is in pain and sleeping like a good boy. Today he ate and drank well and even took a quick trip outside in the yard. He is already walking much better! No more flailing, no more twisting spine. It is nice to see the surgery is already helping him. We definitely want his remaining joints to stay healthy as long as possible.


  1.    admin — May 10, 2011 @ 3:45 pm   

    Thank you for this update! It’s certain to help others contemplating partial amputation. Best wishes for Biff’s speedy complete recovery, again.

  2.    neysha — May 10, 2011 @ 6:41 pm   

    Thanks for Sharing. Benji leg was amputated on the 50.05 but they left in the stump. I had no idea, they did not even give me the options etc.

  3.    Heather — May 11, 2011 @ 12:40 am   

    I rescued a dog 3 weeks ago that had been (shall we say, not so well taken care of) and the poor little guy has a broken leg that 4 vets have said could have either surgery or amputation. The surgery is not guaranteed to work (the break is over 4 months old). From reading your page I believe that amputation is an option that he will be able to live with. My other question you answered as well (thank you) take the leg all the way up or just above the break. One vet suggested taking the entire leg along with the shoulder, is that okay do you think?

  4.    biffngab — May 11, 2011 @ 8:21 am   

    Poor dog! He is so lucky to have someone as caring as you rescue him.

    I would definitely vote for amputating the entire leg along with the shoulder. With the stump, not only would Biff flail around when he walked, but we also found he would tire out much faster than our other tripawd who had a full amputation. He is already walking better, and we hope this will help increase his endurance for longer walks. Coincidentally, in the past few months I have met two people who had dogs with bum legs due to different reasons. They both initially tried surgical repair, but it didn’t work out and caused more pain and difficulty for their dogs. Both dogs had amputations, and now both dogs are doing well! Like our surgeon said, dogs are born with a spare leg and they do very well after amputations.

    So there’s my two cents on front leg amputations. Best of luck with your new dog! I hope he is feeling better soon, and thank you for helping a dog in need! Also, it would be cool if you had time to create a Tripawd blog and log your experiences. I’m sure it would help other dog owners with similar questions.

  5.    heather — May 12, 2011 @ 8:31 am   

    thank you again for your help, although it breaks my heart to think of the poor little guy losing his leg i believe that is the route to take. from the advice i have received looking at forums and with no guarantee (i would hate for him to have to go thru surgery just to find out it didnt work). can you tell me, how long was recovery time. my new little guy is a wiggle worm and very active, he is very hard to keep quiet when home with my other dog as they love to play, should i keep them away from one another for a time?

  6.    biffngab — May 12, 2011 @ 10:59 am   

    Hi Heather,
    Our dog Gabby had her amputation because of nerve sheath cancer, so her body was already tired. It took about 3 days before she could walk outside the boundaries of the yard with the support of a towel sling. She was in pain for probably a week, and then we weaned her off the major pain meds. Biff’s recovery has been much faster, probably because he already knew how to walk on three legs. Our vet said to keep Biff quiet and still for 5-7 days. Usually the dogs play and tumble around together, but Gabby has been very good at leaving Biff alone while he recovers.

    Best of luck with your decision and surgery plans! Be a strong pack leader! That certainly helps. has a great book about what to expect from the surgery and recovery and all else related to it called “Three legs and a spare.”
    -Erica, Dave, Biff and Gabby

  7.    jerry — May 14, 2011 @ 1:53 pm   

    Hey Biff, hope you’re feeling better by now. ouch! But I know you’re going to get hopping around in no time.

    That is so good to know about partial amputations, thanks for sharing.

  8.    heather — May 17, 2011 @ 7:27 am   

    well Ipicked up chico from the vet yesterday afternoon & neither one of us have gotten any sleep. his cries are making me cry, i feel so bad for him. i know in the long run it is the best choice but right now i just cant help feeling like a terrible mommy. if he isn’t wimpering he just stares at me with those sad puppy dog eyes. any suggestions on how i can make him more comfortable? also you suggested i start a blog to track his recovery and status can you help with out with how to start that? i tried on my own but didn’t have much success. you can respond to me privately if you would like at
    again, thank you

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