Tripawds Community member tripawdemma is recipient #85 of the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab After Amputation. Read on for details about the benefits of free canine rehab for three-legged dog Emma, and learn how you can get a free veterinary rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.
Rehab After Amputation Helps Tripawd Emma
My dog’s name is Emma and I adopted her about six months ago in April 2020. We live in Buffalo, NY. Our best guess is she is about 1.5 years old now. I got an Embark DNA test done on her and she is 43.9% Great Pyrenees, 28.6% Border Collie, 12.5% German Shepherd, 8.9% Boxer, and 6.1% Labrador Retriever (based on her appearance, I was very surprised she wasn’t majority lab).
They found her dumped on the street in Texas with her sister Ella in January 2020. When they found her, she had a nasty break of her femoral head in the left rear leg. It wasn’t a recent injury and was healing incorrectly, so they decided to amputate the leg in March. When I saw a photo of her, I was not intimidated by the fact she only had three legs. I just thought she looked happy and lovable. I sent in my application and was fourth on her waiting list. I was incredibly nervous that she would be adopted by someone ahead of me on the list and I wouldn’t be able to meet her. Thankfully the universe led Emma to me and I was able to take her home.
She has been doing great in her recovery; I think this is due to her being young and adaptable. Emma can run so fast chasing a tennis ball, jump up onto the bed, and go up/down the stairs. Her confidence has been growing more and more since I brought her home. I am incredibly grateful to Flights to Furever and Nickel City Canine Rescue for saving her.
Since she is my first dog as an adult and also is a Tripawd, I’ve become an obsessive dog mom doing lots of research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn’t able to get in for a wellness visit with a veterinarian until August. One big question I had for the veterinarian was if I should be restricting her movements and activities. Emma wasn’t showing any signs of pain or discomfort; she has a ton of energy and loves to run. But I worried that I shouldn’t push her too hard to avoid long term damage to her joints.
The veterinarian recommended Triglyceride OMEGA capsules and Dasuquin soft chews to keep her joints healthy. The veterinarian also recommended I make an appointment for rehab after amputation with Pine Woods Animal Hospital to see if they could do physical therapy for her. I did more research online for Tripawd physical therapy and found the Maggie Moo Fund for Free Tripawd Rehab.
At the consultation, I was not allowed to come into the office due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Dr. Aubri Matroniano called me over the phone as she examined Emma. She told me that Emma was maintaining a healthy weight which is important because overweight Tripawds will experience more stress on their joints. Dr. Aubri also said Emma had good range of motion, but that it would be great to get her started on some exercises, stretches, and injections to prevent joint pain later in life and also make her more resistant to injuries. She recommended Adequan injections which I was unfamiliar with, but I found a blog post called “All About Arthritis in Amputee Dogs and Cats”. Dr. Kristin Kirkby Shaw recommended starting Tripawds on maintenance doses of Adequan as soon as possible, so this is something I will definitely be starting for Emma. Dr. Aubri also gave me some exercises I can do at home with Emma including “Biscuit to Hip”, walking backwards, walking over uneven surfaces, and stretching her back leg. The Biscuit to Hip exercise will improve Emma’s flexibility. Backwards walking improves rear leg strength, balance, and proprioception. By walking over uneven surfaces, the muscles gain strength when resistance is applied. She also took photos of the exercises she did with Emma to improve balance and core strength. Emma also got to try out the underwater treadmill.
After this consultation, I want to set up an area in my basement with canine rehab equipment to use with her. What was most valuable about this experience is getting so many ideas of strength building exercises and stretches I can do at home with Emma. I am grateful to the Maggie Moo Fund for providing assistance to Tripawd parents like me that want to do the best they can for their pet.
~ Taylor and Emma (tripawdemma)