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Need Reassurance
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Forum Posts: 17
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15 January 2018 - 1:27 am
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Hi everyone, I was googling and stumbled across your fantastic little site.

About a week before Christmas my cat didn't come home one morning, I have a Maine Coon named Opal, she is the most beautiful gentle girl you could hope to know. We thought the worse but I made some posters up and two days later a woman told us that the SPCA was called out at 5am to help a cat that had been attacked by a dog. After calling the SPCA we found Opal alive at the vets. She had a severely dislocated wrist on her right paw. I have attached the x-ray (doesn't seem I can attach images). Dislocation sounded pretty mild to us, we were amazed that was all that happened to her, turns out the dog had bitten her there though and severed the tendons and ligaments, the infection has been hard to control too.

My vet tried to reduce the bone and we went in for bandage changes every week, those bandages have been the bane of Opals existence and she spent most nites chewing them off as much as she could! 

Last week I was informed that it was not working and my options were fusion (which he had never done in a cat and which came at a high risk with a lot of pain and suffering it seemed) or amputation. I made the call to amputate. It is her right front leg. This has been done today.

I inherited Opal four years ago and I think she is about 8-10 years old. She is a lazy cat, sleeps most days away but does love the neighbours jungle next door which is full of bidibids! She is chatty, loves opening all sorts of doors, even spring loaded ones! Sleeps belly up and loves to be cuddled.

I am feeling very nervous about bringing her home tomorrow. It all went well and everything I have read seems to suggest she will be fine, even the vet has a 3 legged cat and he said he is fine. I just worry that this is going to put her through so much trauma, so much more than she has had already and it is cruel, I don't want her to suffer, she doesn't deserve that. I guess I would just like some reassurance that I have made the right call for Opal. Any tips you have would be fantastic, how can I help her best in the first few days? I want her to be happy and live the rest of her life as if this never happened.

The Rainbow Bridge

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15 January 2018 - 11:30 am
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Hi Opal and family, we are so glad you found us! After such an ordeal, I can totally understand why you're so worried, I would be too.  What a miracle she survived.

But YAY for the surgery going well!

Your vet is totally spot-on (did you know most vets have or had a Tripawd at some point in their career?!). Cats are especially great at being Tripawds. Your biggest challenge will be keeping a good, pawsitive attitude so that her recovery can happen without extra stress on you or on her (remember that animals reflect our emotions). Another challenge will be to keep her weight down, that's critical for Tripawds and especially for felines. But don't worry, we are here to help you through all that!

It sounds like your vet is doing all the right things. Just be sure to ask good questions about pain medication she will come home with (when to give, what side effects to watch out for, etc).

For now, have you taken a look at the Tripawd Kitty bloggers in our community? Read the blogs and you will be so inspired! You'll see that cats bounce back even better than dogs! Here are some more inspawrational things to check out:

Tips for Three-legged Cats During and After Amputation Recovery

Inspirational Tripawd cats featured in our news blog

Litterbox Tips for New Tripawd Cats

Sebastian Shares His Best Tips for Tripawd Cats

I don't want to overwhelm you so I'll leave you with those for now. Stay tuned for more feedback from others. OH, and here's a post about adding images to the Forums (photos must be hosted in your own Tripawds blog or on a photo sharing website. PM me if you have questions). 

Let us know how Opal's homecoming goes!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 January 2018 - 12:12 pm
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Thank you Jerry.

I actually found this forum by reading the thread about Fang. Since then I've read some of Fangs blog. It has given me so much hope. I felt many of the things Fangs owner felt so it was very helpful.

I've picked up some great tips. Opal loves dark cool spots so I've made under the bed so she can't get under it but I've made a great spot for her in the wardrobe which she loves sleeping in.  

I'll keep you updated when she gets home later today. I'll try and be positive for Opals sake. Thanks for the advice there.

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15 January 2018 - 1:42 pm
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Hi and Welcome!

I am so sorry to hear of the ordeal Opal went through.  But she is soon to be well on the road to recovery and a new joyfilled life as a tripawd.  My kitty Tuxedo lost a rear leg and partial pelvis due to a dog attack back in May.  He is about the same age as Opal, 10 years old.  Now he gets around very good and is just as loving & ornery as ever!  I know Opal will be too!

I know back when it happened, I could not bring myself to talk about it to anyone.  I was so scared to bring him home from the vet.  It was like somewhere in my mind I had convinced myself that it was not real.  I needed help but I could not reach out to others for reassurance.  So very glad that you did.  When I finally did talk about it, I cried a lot feeling responsible, like I could have prevented it somehow.  It truly was heart breaking to see my baby like that when he first came home.  But Tuxedo, when he got home all doped up launched himself onto the couch and curled up next to me I realized it was still him inside.  He stayed there reassuring me purring away.  When Opal gets home, she won't be worried about the missing leg, she will be just excited to see you and be where she loves to be.

From what I have read and seen, I think everyone feels scared and a bit guilty when their baby first comes home.  But it is so very important to realize that these darlings are so happy you decided to give them a chance to continue to live and thrive.  You made the best choice for Opal considering the circumstances.  Yes it IS major surgery.  Yes they are in pain, terrible pain for the first several days and need pain meds to stay comfortable.  Yes, these meds can and likely will make them a bit loopy.  However you will also quickly see bigger and bigger glimpses of their old self emerging.  

Because Tuxedo is a rear amputee, I do not know of any specifics Opal may encounter in the healing process for his front leg.  Though there are others here that will happily help if you need that sort of assistance.  But I can definitely relate to the anxiety and nerves associated with bringing one's baby home after amputation.  If you ever wish to talk, feel free to leave me a message.

Hugs and best wishes

-Dawna, Tuxedo, & Dazzle

Virginia
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15 January 2018 - 2:14 pm
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Now how 'bout that for INSTANT REASSURANCE from Jerry and Dawna!!   And it's all based on REAL knowledge of these "situations"!

And Inknow other kitty members will chime in also from their first hand experiences!

I love hearing about your Opal and all her "specialness".  She sounds like such a sweetie.....a strong and determined sweetie!!

YOU ABSOLUTELY MAXE THE BEST DECISION TO GUARANTEE OPAL WILL BE FREE FROM PAIN AND CAN GET ON WITH BEING HER FEISTY SELF!!! 🙂     This is a one-stop fix!  No more surgeries and nor more fighting infections and no more multiple Vet visits!  Not to say recovery is a picnic.  It's not.  It is MAJOR SURGERY and it does hurt.  Your Vet will give you some good pain meds to help with that.  Other kitty members can  tell you what they experienced along those lines. 

STAY CONNECTED!   YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  🙂   It may not seem like it right now, but this IS in the process of having a happy future for your precious Opalheart

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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15 January 2018 - 4:36 pm
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Thank you for sharing your story Dawna. Hearing your experience is very helpful. I hope Opal is as resilient as Tuxedo was. Opal is a survivor she fought for her life against that dog.  I'm hopful that fight in her helps heal her quickly. The vet has called she had a good night and I'll pick her up after work. Apparently she is her chatty self.

I take comfort knowing we tried everything we could to save her leg.  The vet said it was as bad as it could get and I made the right call.  

I've attached the xray and a photo of Opal enjoying life with her bandaged leg. She was very good using a harness. The vet dais she's halfway there as she wasn't using that leg much anyways.

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15 January 2018 - 5:56 pm
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Good evening,

I read about Opal's ordeal (so sorry that happened to her) and just wanted to chime in briefly with my experience. My cat was older too (14) when he required an amputation of his right front leg and scapula. I am pleased to share that aside from a setback with medication directly after surgery and some itching, his recovery was swift and easier than I anticipated. He surprised me by jumping up on counters and even the fridge, with ease. He still was able to race by my dog and go up and down stairs with no difficulties whatsoever.

I hope Opal's recovery is going well and that the great advice offered here is reassuring to you. 

Hugs,

Hattie

Hugs,

Hattie and Jerry Cat (right front leg and scapula amputation due to chondrosarcoma at age 14, lived 2 1/2 years post amputation, succumbed suddenly to suspected lymphoma at age 16)

10/2001 - 10/9/2017 R.I.P ~ Love you always

Michigan
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15 January 2018 - 7:48 pm
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Sorry to hear about your Opal glad to hear you found her and she is going to be OK and that the surgery went well!! Yes you made the right decision that looks terrible ouch!! She is a fighter or she wouldn’t still be here! Opal will get thru this!!

OMC she looks like our Tripawd kitty Mona! Who is also a front leg amputee.

Our cat Purrkins is 7 now he is a 1 year & 7 months post amp he lost his left front leg to cancer they took his scapula too.

Purrkins gets around better then I could of ever imagined him to. Opal will to!!

For tomorrow before bringing Opal home make sure you are coming home with pain medication!! This is major surgery and the pain needs to be managed. We the humans have to advocate for them and I would rather everyone of us come home with enough medication then have to go running back when our cat is in pain! Pain medication is the key to recovery for you both.

We were sent home with 3 days of Buprenorphine and 14 days of Gabapentin when we got near the end of our Buprenorphine, Purrkins was in pain, he meowed, growled and hissed at me. Never Purrkins. We called the surgeon he prescribed more Buprenorphine. Not all Vets send the same amounts or same kind of meds home. All seems to vary.

Purrkins pain meds ended up being
14 days Gabapentin 100 mg capsule 1 capsule by mouth every 8 hours
12 days Buprenorphine 0.3 mg every 8-12 hours

We used a diy baby onesie to cover the incision we got approval from the surgeon for no cone.

We had a spare room set up for recovery Purrkins chose the closet and we just made his little bed in there for him.

Have a supply of all of her favorite foods, some times they don't want to eat with the pain meds. Wet food is great for recovery then you don't have to worry so much about drinking too! I used smelly foods for Purrkins in recovery the smellier the better it gets past the not wanting to eat. Tuna & Salmon, Chicken and Herring etc. Not all cats have the same tastes & I knew fish for Purrkins was a pretty safe bet he would eat it.

Purrkins can do everything he did on 4 legs on 3 and does! I have made some modifications to the house added rugs for traction , steps to his favorite places.

Litter box I would suggest a low lipped box, we actually cut our litter box out to make it easier for Purrkins to get in and out. Some Vets will ask you to change the litter and if you do have your regular litter ready not all cats readily accept abrupt litter changes. We were not asked to change our litter.

Hugs,
Holly & Purrkins❤️

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15 January 2018 - 9:23 pm
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Thank you all so much for your tips. I am picking Opal up in an hour and I am nervous. I moved back home a few years ago to save for a house so I live with my dad and step mum, sadly today that had to put their cat to sleep as he had cancer, he had lost a load of weight and had no quality of life, so it has been a rough start to 2018 for us. After Weasel was put to rest they visited Opal and said she looks great, talking away to them and purring which has given me comfort.

Thanks for the advice on food, I had changed her to a dry diet in the last week at the vets suggestion to help with diarrhea  and it has helped, but I might go back to wet food for a while, she loves it after all!

I know they are giving me pain meds as they asked if I needed more. I have Metacam which contains Meloxicam. I don't know if this is the same as what you have listed. I am in NZ and I know we have different names for things here. It seemed to help with the pain from the dislocation.

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15 January 2018 - 9:23 pm
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Opal does look like Tripawd Kitty Mona! I think Mona's hair is shorter and also turns brown at the ends in the summer. Like Holly said, Mona is a front leg amputee and is doing really well. She was quite determined to do things her way and kept me on my toes during recovery. She also slept in the closet.

Mona is not an athlete but has learned to adapt and likes her stools and boxes to get down from high spots.

Keep in touch with any challenges you may have during Opal's recovery.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

The Rainbow Bridge

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15 January 2018 - 10:35 pm
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I'm so glad you were able to get photos uploaded but WOW that break looks awful, poor baby! She's a real beauty, and you are going to be even more in love with her now that she's even more unique.

Best wishes in the coming days, keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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16 January 2018 - 12:00 am
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Wow , Mona does look very similar.

Opal is home and is a real trooper. The vet was right she was halfway there, walking is no problem. She speed off down the hallway before to check out the house. She looks like a kiwi when she walks, its quite funny. Shes very happy to be home and has been purring away. She does have a collar on, I took it off for a short while because she finds it easier to move without it but she can't be trusted she just starts chewing her staples. Does anyone have any suggestions for combating this? She has always been an over groomer and she chewed her bandages so much I had to repair them everyday.

My vet opted to leave the scapula in for various reasons and so no bone was actually cut. She is still on antibiotics just in case there is more infection from the bite wound. 

We are all feeling very hopeful at this stage and I am already feeling I made the right call.

Thanks for the tips on uploading photos Jerry, I will take some more of her as she recovers. As I write this she has just jumped up onto the bed, collar and all!

Michigan
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16 January 2018 - 6:54 am
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delphi said
 She does have a collar on, I took it off for a short while because she finds it easier to move without it but she can't be trusted she just starts chewing her staples. Does anyone have any suggestions for combating this? She has always been an over groomer and she chewed her bandages so much I had to repair them everyday.

That is why we used a baby onesie to keep Purrkins away from his incision Purrkins had stitches but it is the same idea.
To keep them away from the incision. It worked great for us. He couldn’t get to the incision and it was covered. I still checked in twice a day.

As for the Metacam it is not the same class of drug, Metacam is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is that all you were sent home with that and the antibiotic ?

Purrkins meds were a narcotic and the other was to help with nerve pain.

Glad to hear Opal is home and doing so well! & You did make the right decision, stay hopeful, after recovery you will never second guess your self again I promise you that! I second guessed my decision the first day home and never since! 

Hugs

Holly & Purrkinsheart

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16 January 2018 - 12:22 pm
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Hi there,

So sorry to hear your news, glad you were able to find us. I don't know how I missed this yesterday! I had Huckleberry in a very large dog crate, it was big enough for me to get into, and then I transitioned him into having that whole room to himself. He did not have free run of the house until staples were out and incision was not scabby anymore so that I could watch him. I could not get an e-collar onto him as he was feral and I like having skin laughing He had no problems getting around from the get go, I was amazed. He is a rear amp, was a stray that liked hanging out in our yard. He disappeared for about a month and came back in awful shape

Even though he was a stray feral cat, that did not make us feel any better. We took him in and he has been with us indoors ever since. He is rehabilitating as a semi-socialized semi-domestic cat very well and we love him to pieces.  Even with a background of working with animals when it came to Huck I was a mess. It's like my brain went on sabbatical for a while and I was just overwhelmed by having to amputate his leg, and then the post operative care. It was also very stressful trying to care for a cat that for over a year I had never been able to even touch, yet now I had trapped him and he was staying inside my home. 

As Dawna and Holly said, pain management is KEY! Right now you see a kitty that still has the effects of anesthesia as well as heavy duty pain drugs. In a few days these will wear off and you will see a difference. If she does not have proper pain management when the big drugs wear off she may be quite uncomfortable. The gabapentin is an awesome drug to help ward off phantom limb syndrome. Huckleberry also had narcotic pain meds, and he was probably on those meds for about 3 weeks. His antibiotic was a couple of long term 14 day injections because he was really not handle-able for a while. 

Many of the pain meds we are talking about can actually have the opposite effect in the BM department. With the diarrhea right now you can boil up some long grain white rice, like Uncle Ben's, and mash it up into the wet food. You can also keep the water from the boiled rice, and add a little at a time to the food. Both of those things should help. If not, you can boil skinless boneless chicken, food process it in with the rice, add some of the juice, and give that instead of canned food. Once the diarrhea subsides you can gradually add her regular canned food back mixed in with the chicken and rice in small amounts, increasing as you feed her until she is back on the canned food. 

Good luck, it sounds like you are off to a good start! I hope some of this information was helpful for you.

Jackie and Huckleberry

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

http://paws120......pawds.com/

Virginia
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16 January 2018 - 7:10 pm
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OPAL IS HOME!!!!   YAAAAAAAAAY!!!   And she's already showing she'll be able to handle three just fine!!

You have excellent advice as always from our kitty experts!  Do make sure the pain is managed.  Right now she still has some strong hospital meds in her, but she might feel the pain a bit more once they are out of her system.

Yes, you did indeed make the right decision!!  A decision out of love is always the right decision!heart

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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