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Cat - Do I amputate or put to sleep?
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My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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31 October 2012 - 11:06 am
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While frustrating, vets sometimes don't have all the time they think they have, and maybe will still answer you before 11/3.

Making the decision is a huge step.  Freaking out is a common response.  Fortunately, I had little time to think about it.  After our second opinion consult at 5PM on a Tuesday afternoon, the vet told me we didn't have to decide that minute, but he would clear his schedule the following morning and if we made the decision, just bring her in on my way to work.

For us, as much as I dreaded that morning coming, we were committed to removing the source of pain. Never, even after the arthritis became a problem, did I doubt that the amputation was the best choice we could have made.

Hopefully, when this is all over, you will feel the same.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
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31 October 2012 - 12:44 pm
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hugapitbull said
While frustrating, vets sometimes don't have all the time they think they have, and maybe will still answer you before 11/3.

Making the decision is a huge step.  Freaking out is a common response.  Fortunately, I had little time to think about it.  After our second opinion consult at 5PM on a Tuesday afternoon, the vet told me we didn't have to decide that minute, but he would clear his schedule the following morning and if we made the decision, just bring her in on my way to work.

For us, as much as I dreaded that morning coming, we were committed to removing the source of pain. Never, even after the arthritis became a problem, did I doubt that the amputation was the best choice we could have made.

Hopefully, when this is all over, you will feel the same.

Thanks - I read somewhere that a study was done of cat amputee owners and 95% said they would do it again if given the choice ("only" 90% said that their cat still had a good quality of life), so I think that the likelihood is pretty good that I will feel like you at some point (hopefully soon) - that I made the right choice. Whew, I can't wait for that day, let me tell you!

"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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31 October 2012 - 12:50 pm
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Question!:

Gabapentin. The reading on this site said that it's usually administered before surgery, but it doesn't say how. I asked my vet about it, and she said we could try it (though she hasn't used it for amp surgery in cats before). She gave me a bottle of it (liquid) to give him orally before the surgery. She said I could start maybe the day before, but she didn't give me really firm direction about when to start it. She also said that the amount she prescribed might not be enough (0.3ml), and that I could give him more if I felt it was necessary (she gave me extra). "He should be drowsy, but not knocked out".

Is this how you guys did your Gabapentin before surgery? How many days before did you start? Sort of not sure what I'm doing...

Thanks guys.

"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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31 October 2012 - 2:00 pm
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Also, I read that a morphine drip during and after surgery helps greatly to prevent pain. My vet uses a fentanyl patch which is a a pain patch put on his foot that releases fentanyl for about 4-5 days. Will this work as well as the drip?

Thanks guys.

"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/

The Rainbow Bridge

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31 October 2012 - 2:10 pm
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Hey there,

If you can remember where you found that survey about cat owners and amputation can you post it here? 

OK, regarding amputation, here is what Tripawds Vet Expert Tazziedog says about administering it before surgery in this blog post, in regards to how she used it on her Tripawd Tazzie.

First of all, I would always use what is called a CRI (continuous rate infusion) of morphine, lidocaine, and ketamine (MLK) during the amputation. These drugs help prevent a lot of the pain felt after an amputation and allow you to use less gas anesthesia during the procedure. The drip is continued postop until the dog is comfortable. Tazzie’s surgery lasted 3 hours and she needed the drip for 12 hours postop until she was comfy. I have to admit that I slept on the kennel floor with her all night long just to make sure she was ok.Smile

I started her on 3 drugs the day before surgery. One is a Fentanyl patch applied to one of her back legs. This is a narcotic that lasts 3-5 days and will be removed Friday. The other drugs are gabapentin and amantadine. These are drugs used in human medicine and both are inexpensive and very safe (main sided effect is sleepiness from gabapentin). Gabapentin is used to prevent nerve root pain and thereoretically can help with “phantom pain“. We can’t ask our dogs about that but I think that it does exist! Gabapentin is continued for 2-4 weeks after surgery depending on the dog. Amantadine helps prevent what is called pain “wind up”. Once the pain receptors are annoyed it takes more pain meds to calm them down. This drug blocks that response and can be used for 1-2 weeks postop.

She also discusses it in this video, found in this blog post:

feature=share&list=PL7BF3EE758619E283

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31 October 2012 - 6:39 pm
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jerry said
Hey there,

If you can remember where you found that survey about cat owners and amputation can you post it here? 

OK, regarding amputation, here is what Tripawds Vet Expert Tazziedog says about administering it before surgery in this blog post, in regards to how she used it on her Tripawd Tazzie.

Thanks Jerry! As always, this is very helpful :)

Here are the results of that study: http://www.fabc.....putee.html. It says that "when asked if they thought their cat had a normal quality of life, over 90% of owners believed that they did." and "when asked whether they would make the same decision if they knew then what they knew now, 95% of owners said they would." Very heartening.

And, if you want to pay for the actual published journal of which that link is a summary (which I did not), it is here: http://veterina.....167/19/734

Hope that's useful! I will probably post it in my blogs too. I really hope someone finds them useful one day - or maybe finds some solace if they're in the same position (and if this indeed ends up a happy 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/

The Rainbow Bridge

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1 November 2012 - 9:11 am
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Oooh thank you for that link! I will be sure to add it in several places throughout Tripawds. In fact, we've decided to add a special Discussion Forum topic for cat Tripawd pawrents where we can keep resources like this together for them. Thank you for inspiring us for doing that! Stay tuned, we'll get to that soon. 

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2 November 2012 - 3:29 pm
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Oh my that is really, really wonderful for your guys to put up info about cat amputations. I was so lost before I found this forum - there really isn't a good place (that I found) to get a lot of information about cat amputation in one place - you sort of have to float around and read people's stories and ask them, but when you're in that pre-op panic you need answers right away, and I feel like this will give people that. So thank you! I think that's so great.

"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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2 November 2012 - 3:37 pm
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Update: The Second Opinion.

That UC Davis guy finally called me today (the day before surgery) and said that he feels like this might not be a tumor, though it is very likely that it is, but it could also be some “infectious” something, or “mineralization of muscle or ligaments”. He said that these are really really rare and unlikely, but that sometimes those three types of things might not continue to grow and then we could leave the lump on him and he could do just fine. But, he said, it's far far more likely (like 99%) that this is a tumor and he will need the amputation. And the only way to find out if it is one of those other things is to do a biopsy, which is major surgery that he would have to recover from and then it's 99% likely that he will have to go in two weeks later to get the amputation surgery anyway.

So, now after I had finally found my resolve to do this surgery and felt more confident that I made the right decision, I am faced with having to worry that maybe (super unlikely) I'm getting this amputation for no reason. Ugh.

At the moment I'm thinking.... it's SO unlikely that it's one of those things, and even if it is, it's not even certain that they wouldn't be growing and causing the same problem as the tumor (breaking his little leg and causing lots of pain), then it's still better to just do the amputation tomorrow like we'd planned.... right?

Any opinions out there?

"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/

The Rainbow Bridge

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2 November 2012 - 3:53 pm
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We are happy to do it! As soon as we are done with the Greyhounds Rock conference this weekend we will be able to get to out to do list! Thanks for the inspiration.

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3 November 2012 - 5:03 am
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Not sleeping tonight. Wayyyy to anxious. I can't believe I'm going to drop him off at the vet this morning and just LEAVE him there. ugh.

"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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3 November 2012 - 6:24 pm
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Surgery is over - he's one less leg. He got through without complications and he's resting at the hospital now. Apparently he got his claws into some of the nurses so they had to put an e collar on him. :( But otherwise, it's good news... He may be down a leg, but he's down a tumor too.

"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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3 November 2012 - 7:49 pm
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Wishing Fang a speedy recovery and hugs to you :) Do you get to bring him home tomorrow? This discussion about Fang has had me thinking about BK all week (which is bittersweet in some ways, I miss her) the funny thing is that I can't remember her with four legs.  Fang and your household will adjust to his new normal it might just take a bit of time.

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit. ~Henry David Thoreau"

 

Best Regards,

Marjorie

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3 November 2012 - 8:35 pm
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mbudrow said
Wishing Fang a speedy recovery and hugs to you :) Do you get to bring him home tomorrow? This discussion about Fang has had me thinking about BK all week (which is bittersweet in some ways, I miss her) the funny thing is that I can't remember her with four legs.  Fang and your household will adjust to his new normal it might just take a bit of time.

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit. ~Henry David Thoreau"

 

Best Regards,

Marjorie

 

Thank you for the well wishes. Yes, I bring him home tomorrow at 10AM. I really appreciate your support and that you shared your experiences with me during this whole mess. I hope that Fang can do as well. :) Thanks

"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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4 November 2012 - 9:33 am
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Glad to hear he made it through surgery ok. Hope his recovery is easy-peasy!

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