After EAH participated in the 2014 Rock Hill Christmasville Parade, some questions and concerns arose about our inclusion of a three legged (“tripod”) dog in the parade. We wanted to shed some light on the situation on why we think it was important for “Peanut” to be included – just like all the other dogs!
My name is Dr. Ryn Marlowe, and I am the proud parent of the tripod in question – Peanut! Peanut was 2 years old when he escaped from a fenced backyard during playtime and was hit by a car. After that incident, he spent four months in a critical care referral center and was lucky to be released! The loss of his leg did not diminish his spirit. Since losing his back leg he has adjusted wonderfully and is now a happy, healthy 10 year old dog. Only having three legs has not slowed Peanut down at all. Through regular exercise and careful diet, Peanut has stayed strong, trim and mentally stimulated. He begs every day to go on his 2 mile walk. If he does not go on a walk he paces the house and whines. He frequently has more energy than his four legged doggie friends. In fact, during the parade he was so happy and excited that he pulled me until I had trouble staying back with the float. He may only have one back leg, but it sure is powerful!
Typically, a three-legged animal, as well as their humans, soon forget the missing limb altogether. They can run, jump, play, swim, climb stairs as well as anyone – sometimes better. It is extremely important to keep their muscles strong and joints lubricated with frequent exercise. Tripod dogs, especially those who lost limbs at young ages, are usually able to jog and walk with owners. Those that cannot due to other injuries or muscle atrophy are perfect candidates for underwater treadmills to keep their muscles and joints healthy. It is important to keep the remaining opposite leg as healthy as possible by checking the paw pads daily and keeping the limb as strong as possible. Three-legged dogs can compensate for their altered gait well; however, this can lead to extra strain on other limbs and the back. Therefore, alternative therapies like nutritional support, joint supplements, acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractics and massage can keep them balanced and primed for a long pain free life. It is even more important to exercise a tripod dog than a four legged dog. Peanut is happy he gets to join in on fun activities and with dogs and people, and he is more than willing to show how he is just as fast and strong as his four legged friends!
Although I knew going into the parade that the route was only just over a mile, I also knew that if Peanut tired, we could put in him the float with the other older dogs. However, that never had to happen, as Peanut was ready to go and happy to be included the whole walk! Having one less leg doesn’t make him any less of a happy dog and eager to be included in activities such as the parade, no more than humans with disabilities should be excluded. After the parade, Peanut went about his evening just like any other day. He went to sleep and woke up without any evidence of pain, discomfort, or stress to his musculoskeletal system.
I am always glad to answer questions – so please let me know! Thank you to all who see Peanut as the survivor he is!
Ryn Marlowe, DVM