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Cat - Do I amputate or put to sleep?
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The Rainbow Bridge

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24 October 2012 - 7:24 pm
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Fang, you are a handsome kitty! 

Marjorie, thank you so much for jumping in!

CL, I'll try to help answer some of your questions:

Also, do other house-pets tend to get more aggressive to your three-legger? 

Generally we've seen that dogs actually give the healing dog more space than usual. It's rare for fights to break out, usually the hardest part is keeping them from rough-housing too much too soon after surgery.

Finally, have any of you experienced issues with phantom-limb pain? Is this common? Is there anything we can do to help it?

In dogs, absolutely. You'll see our Required Reading List has information about how to diagnose and cope with it. Ask your vet about Gabapentin before surgery, which helps reduce the risk of phantom pain; I think it's something that cats can use too. Maybe Wookie will chime in.

Do your pets need pain medication every day?

Generally most here do not, although many take a non-steroidal for arthritis (Metacam, Rimadyl, etc.). Pain medication such as tramadol is usually stopped within 10 - 14 days after surgery.

What do you do about arthritis?

See above. Because Tripawds' bodies do compensate for the missing limb, generally they will experience earlier onset of aches and pains. Regular massage and keeping slim go a long way toward preventing arthritis issues. 

Sounds like you've got a LOT on your plate right now. Yes, the recovery can be stressful for both human and animal but when it's over (generally 2-3 weeks), you'll wonder why you were ever so worried.

The one thing I forgot to address earlier was the fact that he's an outdoor cat. Typically vets will recommend keeping an animal in a confined space, indoors, for amputation recovery. We've had many outdoor dogs here recuperate and live happily as they did before. Honestly I'm not sure what your vet will say about Fang since he's an outdoor cat already but that's definitely something to put on your question list (you've started one for your vet, right? ;)

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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24 October 2012 - 7:55 pm
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jerry said

Honestly I'm not sure what your vet will say about Fang since he's an outdoor cat already but that's definitely something to put on your question list (you've started one for your vet, right? ;)

Oh, I am 100% positive that my vet wishes that she NEVER gave me her e-mail address. Lol. And obviously, I want to know everything she can tell me about the process ... but her experience isn't the home-with-a-three-legged-pet experience that I feel will tell me so much more about the day-to-day way that the pet copes with such a monumental life change.

Thanks so much for your answers!

I really hope you're right and this will just be a bump in the road for us... a really really long, nice road. Lol. For the athritis issue, I've taken Marjorie's advice and purchased some supplements. He's a lap-cat so "regular massage" should not be an issue!

The idea of Phantom Limb pain is very scary... I would hate for him to hurt AND be missing a leg. Thank you so much for the link - I will start reading tonight, as I surely will not be sleeping.

Thank you all for all of the time you've all taken to answer my questions and share my stories. It means so much.

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

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24 October 2012 - 8:31 pm
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 im 3 weeks new to this with amputation and i can say  this , just to see rock without pain is 100% best thing we have done for him . he has alrdy had one treatment with chemo and doing great .  its a big decision  but  well worth it  imo

Orange County, CA
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24 October 2012 - 8:51 pm
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jerry saidAsk your vet about Gabapentin before surgery, which helps reduce the risk of phantom pain; I think it's something that cats can use too. Maybe Wookie will chime in.

Yes, Gabapentin can be used in cats too.

Right hind limb amputated 7/3/12 for OSA, started on alternating cycles of Carboplatin and Doxorubicin and oral Palladia. Single lung met 9/1. Met in the neck muscle removed 9/30. Large mass in sublumbar lymph node 10/2. Rescue chemo with ifosfamide 10/6. Mets to the rib and axillary lymph node 10/21. Started Leukeran and Pred 10/25. Wookie left this Earth for a far better place on 12/4/12. I miss you, Boo, you were my heart.

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24 October 2012 - 10:00 pm
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Sorry I'm late welcoming you and your gorgeous baby, Fang. I don't know much about cats, so can't weigh in at all but wanted to say hi. It looks like you've already gotten lots of good advice. Keep us posted!

Sending pawsitive thoughts out for Fang.
Jackie, Angel Abby's mom

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

New Zealand
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24 October 2012 - 10:51 pm
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oh Fang you are so handsome. What a proud puss!!!!

cant help much but just wanted to say welcome and good luck!!!

All the best

Sarah

In your heart, where I belong.
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24 October 2012 - 10:55 pm
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I'm sorry I'm late to the welcoming party, but I wanted to quickly tell you a couple of things. My dog, like Karen's Maggie, was not good at change. He still isn't. However, he went to sleep one day with 4 legs and woke up with 3, and he has lived to blog about it. That's a pretty big change. He's done better than I expected.

Second, we have a local boutique dog and cat store and bakery that has several resident animals. One is a cat that looks like tripawd Henry that Jerry posted. It's not Henry, but it's a front amputee tabby and it does just fine. I think it's a little girl cat but I can't remember. At any rate, this kitty owns the joint (as cats do), and I can hear it sigh heavily when people say "Holy cow! Does that cat only have 3 legs?!" I'm sure it's saying "just leave me alone and let me live my life in peace, stupid human." So Fang can continue to be all cat, even with 3 legs.

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

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24 October 2012 - 10:56 pm
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charlesrock said
 im 3 weeks new to this with amputation and i can say  this , just to see rock without pain is 100% best thing we have done for him . he has alrdy had one treatment with chemo and doing great .  its a big decision  but  well worth it  imo

That's wonderful. I get the feeling that I am making this harder than it needs to be. Well, I'm kind of getting that feeling. I still feel extremely dizzy and ill about it but, it's getting a little better. I'm so glad it's going so well for you and your boy.

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

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24 October 2012 - 10:57 pm
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Sarah and Jackie - thanks so much for your welcomes. I really appreciate it :)

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

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24 October 2012 - 11:00 pm
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Dakota Dawg said
I'm sorry I'm late to the welcoming party, but I wanted to quickly tell you a couple of things. My dog, like Karen's Maggie, was not good at change. He still isn't. However, he went to sleep one day with 4 legs and woke up with 3, and he has lived to blog about it. That's a pretty big change. He's done better than I expected.

Second, we have a local boutique dog and cat store and bakery that has several resident animals. One is a cat that looks like tripawd Henry that Jerry posted. It's not Henry, but it's a front amputee tabby and it does just fine. I think it's a little girl cat but I can't remember. At any rate, this kitty owns the joint (as cats do), and I can hear it sigh heavily when people say "Holy cow! Does that cat only have 3 legs?!" I'm sure it's saying "just leave me alone and let me live my life in peace, stupid human." So Fang can continue to be all cat, even with 3 legs.

Shari

Shari - I hope that Fang can handle a change like your and Karen's babies did! Did you feel like it took longer for him to get accustomed to the change? How long did it take him to get his personality back? Did he hate you for a while :(

I'm glad to hear about another front-leg-missing-kitty is getting around well. Maybe it's not so bad. I just need to think of it more optimistically.... Maybe it is better for him to live that way, than to not live at all. I am starting to think maybe he could be happy...

Thanks so much for your thoughts and your story :)

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

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24 October 2012 - 11:11 pm
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Unlike Maggie, Dakota did not take a long time to adjust and he did not punish me. However, Dakota came with baggage and has always depended on me tremendously. As much as he brings to our family, we know that he would be absolutely lost without us. He has the worst anxiety of any dog I've ever known about, so when he had his surgery he simply wanted to get home, hunker down, recover and live his private life. That's the way he is.

Recovery was about like everyone else here who had a dog. I really imagine cats recover faster because they are made of feathers. smiley Dakota was over 80 pounds, so he was not made of feathers. And he was definitely fearful and reticent about going outside, but I used it to my advantage. If I left him and went outside, he was so knotted up that he followed me simply because he is a velcro dog. Now, though, he is back to being king. He is only king of his home, but hey--he's king. He has a roommate that he plays with, he has sirens to howl at, he has a new baby in the family to look after. He's a happy dog. He really is.

I never thought of euthanizing Dakota. He was 9 when he lost his leg, and he already had some arthritis, but the baggage he came with meant we promised him a lot when we gave him a home. I couldn't write his future for him because it wasn't my place. I wanted to see what story he would write for himself. So far, it's a rather boring story, but it includes a lot of love and a lot of life. I feel like he was robbed of so much as a youngster that I need to make up for those shortcomings and try to show him all humans are not the same. 

He's at 21 months now and doing just fine. He did not have bone cancer but rather a soft-tissue cancer so we don't live in fear of spreading cancer; in fact we just don't live in fear!

Shari

From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at http://shari.tr.....pawds.com/

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25 October 2012 - 8:24 am
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Dakota Dawg said
Unlike Maggie, Dakota did not take a long time to adjust and he did not punish me. However, Dakota came with baggage and has always depended on me tremendously. As much as he brings to our family, we know that he would be absolutely lost without us. He has the worst anxiety of any dog I've ever known about, so when he had his surgery he simply wanted to get home, hunker down, recover and live his private life. That's the way he is.

Recovery was about like everyone else here who had a dog. I really imagine cats recover faster because they are made of feathers. smiley Dakota was over 80 pounds, so he was not made of feathers. And he was definitely fearful and reticent about going outside, but I used it to my advantage. If I left him and went outside, he was so knotted up that he followed me simply because he is a velcro dog. Now, though, he is back to being king. He is only king of his home, but hey--he's king. He has a roommate that he plays with, he has sirens to howl at, he has a new baby in the family to look after. He's a happy dog. He really is.

I never thought of euthanizing Dakota. He was 9 when he lost his leg, and he already had some arthritis, but the baggage he came with meant we promised him a lot when we gave him a home. I couldn't write his future for him because it wasn't my place. I wanted to see what story he would write for himself. So far, it's a rather boring story, but it includes a lot of love and a lot of life. I feel like he was robbed of so much as a youngster that I need to make up for those shortcomings and try to show him all humans are not the same. 

He's at 21 months now and doing just fine. He did not have bone cancer but rather a soft-tissue cancer so we don't live in fear of spreading cancer; in fact we just don't live in fear!

Shari

Shari - I'm so happy for you AND Dakota! Fang depends a lot on me as well - more in these last three years when his personality suddenly changed and he decided he was a lap cat (when he's inside, anyway). It used to be that when we took him to the vet and brought him home, he disappeared for about a week. Every time. I think it was a punishment. But this time when we went to get him checked out and do the X-ray, after we got home he just wanted to cuddle. Other than going out to go to the bathroom, he's pretty much been sleeping with us all day - he even got on the bed for this whole week, which is absolutely unheard of for him. Maybe he's actually hurting and he just hides it very well. Or maybe he caught a love bug, I dont know.

Hopefully he will be like Dakota and will recover his personality quickly despite his skiddish-ness. But I guess if he doesn't I just have to stay positive that he will.

Have any of you ever met a dog/cat that just didn't recover and get along okay after the surgery?

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

Scottsburg, IN
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25 October 2012 - 8:57 am
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Hello!  I saw the call for three legged cat owners on facebook and decided to pop over.  I'm at work and unfortunately don't have time to read through all of the posts, but I know this community pretty well and i know they are taking good care of you and your questions.  I just wanted to pop in and say that we had a three legged cat for well over a decade.  He did wonderfully!  He never seemed to have any troubles adjusting and he was a front leg amp.  He would go streaking through the house at lighting speed, jump up to where ever he wanted to go (whether or not that pleased us didn't matter).  He had a much easier time of it than my dog has.  I'm thinking it might have something to do with size.  But I just wanted to reassure you that the front leg amp really is not an issue. 

 

Your baby is beautiful!  I hope all goes well. 

 

Leslie

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25 October 2012 - 9:38 am
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lesliec said
Hello!  I saw the call for three legged cat owners on facebook and decided to pop over. 

You're the pawesomest! Thanks for sharing your kitty's story Leslie!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 October 2012 - 3:15 pm
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lesliec said
Hello!  I saw the call for three legged cat owners on facebook and decided to pop over.  I'm at work and unfortunately don't have time to read through all of the posts, but I know this community pretty well and i know they are taking good care of you and your questions.  I just wanted to pop in and say that we had a three legged cat for well over a decade.  He did wonderfully!  He never seemed to have any troubles adjusting and he was a front leg amp.  He would go streaking through the house at lighting speed, jump up to where ever he wanted to go (whether or not that pleased us didn't matter).  He had a much easier time of it than my dog has.  I'm thinking it might have something to do with size.  But I just wanted to reassure you that the front leg amp really is not an issue. 

 

Your baby is beautiful!  I hope all goes well. 

 

Leslie

Leslie - thank you so much for sharing your story and your reassurance that everything will be okay for him. I keep getting really positive that we are for sure going to do the amputation and then I think about his new life and how different it might be, and I imagine him hopping instead of walking and I just slump back into my stressed-out and totally un-assured state. I actually had to leave work early.

But, then I get on here and I have all of these wonderful stories to cheer me up and put me back to my place of moderate-assuredness. So, I am so grateful that you spotted that note and decided to come and share your experience with a front-amp.

Might I ask how old your kitty was when he got the amputation?

I saw some people online showing all of these things they did to their house to make it better for kitty (which I don't have a problem doing, obviously, but it makes me feel like they actually have way more issues getting around than I like to believe), but then I hear people like you saying that their cats could jump around etc. So, it's really really helpful to hear these kinds of stories.

The vet works on Sundays so... I have to decide for sure before then. It's so big but, I think you guys are all right - if he has a chance, why would I take that away from him?

"You aren't doing it TO him, you are doing it FOR him. Give him a chance at life."

Check out Fang's blog at http://cldavis......pawds.com/

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