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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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12 YO Cat with Osteosarcoma, Phantom Pain: Help!
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Member Since:
11 September 2022
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5 October 2022 - 9:18 am
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Hello – I’m a new tripaw fur momma and I’m sure now after reading this post my little American short hair, CC has phantom pain

Background:  CC is 12 yr old that in May 2022 amputated his hind leg because he had bone cancer. He has been doing well adjusting but a couple months ago started to have muscle twitches/shocks which I’m gathering as nerve pain. I have him on Gabapentin (100mg a day – 1/2 in am 1/2 in pm) but it doesn’t seem to be working 100%.  Oh he also has hyperthyroidism I am treating for and is under control.  I just don’t feel like this amount of Gaba is working well and my vet noted I could incorporate 1/2 a tablet of Onsior but I’m concerned as Onsior says not to give longer than 3 days.  I’m considering adding CBD.  Has anyone had any success reducing phantom pain with CBD?? 

 I could use some help here from the community as all I am hearing is that I should put him down.  Other than the nerve shocks he is doing great! Eats well, loves to play, and drinks his water.  He is getting a little touchy about being petted which I have heard is common.  I live in Prescott, AZ 86301 and don’t think we have any animal acupuncturists or physical therapists. Please help!  I’m torn apart about this and what to do.  I don’t want him in pain!!

The Rainbow Bridge


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5 October 2022 - 9:36 am
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Hi to you and CC! I’m sorry that you are dealing with phantom pain , it’s a complex situation and extra challenging with cats.

So, who on earth is telling you to put him down? Whoever they are needs to keep their opinion to themselves unless they are pain management experts. 

Now, can you describe what’s happening with those twitches? Does he cry out, jump, walk backwards? If the muscle is only twitching and he’s not showing a behavior response to the twitch, it’s likely that this is normal for an amputee’s residual limb. Our Wyatt’s stump twitched the rest of his life but it was not phantom pain .

If CC is having phantom pain symptoms, then it’s time to approach things differently. It can’t hurt to at least try the onsior for a few days to see if it helps “reset” the nerves. The three-day recommendation for it is what the medication was approved for in the FDA studies. Many vets use medications off-label to address unique situations. Your vet can tell you when using it for too many days can be harmful.

You actually DO have rehab therapists who may be able to help! Prescott Animal Hospital has TWO rehab specialists and one is a surgeon! They are also an AAHA-accredited practice that looks EXCELLENT. They were even AAHA Practice of the Year in 2014. WOW! You are so lucky! Please call them for a consult, and remember that Tripawds Foundation can pay for CC’s first rehab visit .

There is also a rehab therapist in Cottonwood but try PAH first.

As for CBD, no studies have been shown that it can be effective to treat phantom pain . See our recent stories about CBD and cannabis veterinary medicine:

https://tripawd…../cannabis/

Did you see our most recent stories about osteosarcoma in cats?

Charlie the Osteosarcoma Cat Beats the Cancer Odds!

Osteosarcoma Metastasis in Cats Not So Rare After All

Also check out these rehab success stories about cats:

Tripawd Cat Rehab Relps Tri-kitty Athena

Free Feline Rehab for Three Legged Cat Fergie

Three Legged Cat Walking Backwards Benefits from Free Feline Rehab

Member Since:
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5 October 2022 - 10:21 am
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Thank you for all these resources!

He does not cry or jump up suddenly as others have had reports of.  He doesn’t have the twitches when he sleeps that I can tell.  Mostly I can tell he is sitting differently (I guess to keep his wrists? from too much movement).  With gabapentin I have noticed the twitches are reduced but I can sort tell he doesn’t like being petted as much as he used to.  And possibly cleaning himself a little more but hard to tell.  But really he is a happy boy and loves to play, even at his age!

So Prescott Animal Hospital, Dr Skinner did the amputation but I’ve tried to get a hold of him but only his technicians call me back and have no answers to my questions and no return call from him.  But I will call them and see if I can get a hold of a therapist as you mentioned.  He is a TERRIBLE patient and actually was traumatized with all the vet appts surrounding his amputation that he actually started to run away from me every time I grabbed my purse (poor boy!).  So Cottonwood might be a little harder on him as it is about an hour away.  But I will call PAH and review all the material you provided – thank you sooo much for all f this!!

Is it harmful to give more than 100mg of gabapentin to a cat?

Thank you for your reply and new hope to help my sweet boy!

The Rainbow Bridge


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5 October 2022 - 12:31 pm
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You are so welcome. So based on what you’re describing, it sounds like he is probably having some aches and pains related to his new gait. Especially if he’s touch sensitive and excessively grooming (these are common pain signals ). It could be that he’s achy. But if you’re not seeing those sudden outbursts people see with a phantom pain episode, it doesn’t really sound like that’s what’s happening.

Of course I’m not a vet so the best bet is to call PAH back and ask to get a rehab appointment. I’m so happy you got to work with them but it’s a bummer that you can’t connect with Dr. Skinner. Vets are so overworked these days, it’s not uncommon for this kind of thing. Apparently there’s a Gayle Skinner at the clinic who is certified as a therapist too, so maybe ask for her? Rehab experts are really good at diagnosing pain issues. Meanwhile it’s OK to also the techs about upping his Gabapentin dosage, I’m not the expert there.

You’ll get your sweet boy back! 

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5 October 2022 - 1:52 pm
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Well I looked at their website and it says canine physical therapy, but I still called and have to wait for a call back – sigh..  

I did vacillate between regular ‘nerve pain’ vs ‘phantom pain ‘ and it is hard for me to discern and don’t want to traumatize him to take him to the vet again unless I absolutely have to.  I went with phantom pain after picking him up and feeling the little shock wave of nerves he has been having.  I pray you are right and it’s normal after-surgery type pain.  I just thought it strange it is developing now almost 5 months to the date after his surgery. But I’m in new territory here and have no clue!  I wouldn’t say he’s overgrooming per se, just seems like a little more than he used to is all.  But I did forget to mention that he has been chewing on a couple of particular nipples but he’s been doing that since before his fur started to grow back.  It’s been lessened since I’ve been licking my hand and petting him in that area. Sounds strange but hoped the scent of mommy saliva or grooming would deter him.  Who knows if it was me or the drugs… 

Strangely enough, my regular vet called and got to actually talk out a pain management schedule.  So we’re going to try 50mg gabapentin in the am & pm, and then sneak in 1/2 a tablet of Onsior for lunch/snack every other day.  I can keep you (all) posted on how this works for me in hopes it might help another kitty with similar issues.

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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5 October 2022 - 5:27 pm
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Xa5chi g up just in ti e to see uour Vet has given you a pain management   plan to th.  So yes, let us know how that goes

Gonna a try and find so e of the tips that Holly (Mom to Purrkins  and Angel Saxton) had for her cat who severe out of co trol  anxiety going to the Vet.  She tried various “things” from tranquilizers,  herbal stuff, etc.  What finally worked was Gabapentin at certain doses at certain times right before the trip to the Vet.

Otherwise, it is good news that CC is doing well overall!  Hopefully the new med scenario, as well as a consult with a kitty Rehab Specialist  can help.  Even if it’s over the phone, maybe they can give you so e insight.  

Hang in there.  You’re  doing a good job of monitoring CC and trying different appro.  And hey, love that you tried the “spit in the hand” technique  for “grooming” his tummy.  Ya’ never know when “thinking  oit of the box” works!!   Worth a try!!

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!

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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5 October 2022 - 5:43 pm
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PS.  Here’s what worked to calm Saxton.  It goes without saying, ONLY TRY THIS WITH VET INPUT AND APPROVAL!!!  Saxton’s situation, his make up, his weight, etc may be entirely different from Saxton.   So again, just a thought that MAY work for CC only with yourVet’s approval.   

       

……..”.we ended up doing 100 mg the…

…night before our appt and 200 mg the morning of, plus 8 mg cerenia.

Saxton did well and got to and from the cardiologist appt without incidence, thanks to the high dosage of Gaba. So if anyone researches and finds this, the…

…mix worked for our Saxton, a critical cardiac patient”

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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6 October 2022 - 9:12 am
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While I’m working on getting CC’s meds worked out, I wanted to ask have you or anyone had success with utilizing an Assisi LOOP?

I just learned about it from one of the videos here on Tripawds and am intrigued.  Does/could it help with nerve pain and possibly arthritis?

Thank you for any replys!

Virginia




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6 October 2022 - 9:53 am
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I have used it per a Rehab Bet for my Tripawd’s cruciate  surgery  to “help with heaaling’  .i  truly have no idea if it helped or not.     Wish I could give you a more definitive  answer.  Others may have more noticeable results.

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!

The Rainbow Bridge


Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 October 2022 - 10:29 am
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I’m glad you have some direction for the pain control, paws crossed it works! 

Canine rehabilitation specialists also work on cats (well, usually). They really should be called Animal Rehab Specialists because they learn on a variety of species. I hope you’ve heard back by now. If for some reason you can’t get in to see them, you can try online rehab consulting at home

Regarding the Assisi Loop (glad you found the video!). Yes, it’s supposed to reduce arthritis inflammation pain and other types of pain issues. I’ve heard mixed results from folks. Some say it worked on their animal’s pain issues, some say it didn’t do anything. I never got a chance to try it on our Wyatt Ray . Similar to other pain relief products like the Farabloc blanket, it can have mixed results. Purrkins’ mom Holly reports that it did work for him, and many others have too. 

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6 October 2022 - 11:42 am
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This site has been a blessing!  Thank you all for the information.

No word back from PAH, but from your site I was able to obtain a virtual physical therapy appt from a place in Ohio! They said they hadn’t tried it before but were willing to give it a try.

I did decide to buy & try the Farabloc .  Hopefully, that will help a little bit… crossing fingers!

The Rainbow Bridge


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6 October 2022 - 4:41 pm
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Well you just made our day, thank you!

I’m so glad you were able to get a virtual consult! It still qualifies for the Tripawds Rehab Reimbursement program so be sure to check out the program page and apply after your first visit.

https://tripawd…..bursement/

Oh glad you decided to try the Farabloc ! We are keeping our paws crossed that it works well. Keep us posted.

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18 October 2022 - 1:29 pm
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Well, it seems like it has been a long time since my last post but it was just about a week ago.  

I have scoured all sorts of sites and information out there on all sorts of stuff from messages for pain, physical therapy, etc.  I ended up finding a facility in Ohio that was willing to do a virtual appt for physical therapy.  Ginger at Care Center Cincinnati Rehab was absolutely wonderful!!  She gave me all sorts of information on how to do messages and tips to help his stability.  Also, she confirmed that raised cat bowls are definitely good for tripaws – so I made more of them (also available on Amazon).  So HUGE shout-out to Ginger and the Rehab center!!

I did get an appt with the surgeon at PAH and was very disappointed.  The surgeon basically provided me no information on physical therapy and pretty much said it is too hard for cats like mine that are scaredy cats.  I mentioned that the Gabapentin was really making CC loopy and lethargic and a neighbor suggested Tramadol.  He agreed Tramadol might work better and would have less of sedition effects.   My question out there for those out there.. have you used Tramadol for your cat?  I did not know it was an opioid and was concerned about the side effects.

Oh, forgot to mention the Fababloc came in and I put it on his bed… he didn’t like that.  Then I put it under the cover of his bed and shortly after he was sleeping on the floor and doesn’t want to go back to his bed.  So I don’t think it’s going to work for me.  Is anyone interested in trying a bearly used Fababloc at a reduced price?? LOL

The Rainbow Bridge


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19 October 2022 - 11:45 am
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I’m so glad you found the therapist in Cincinnati! YAY! Remember Tripawds Foundation can cover the cost of that first rehab visit even if it was virtual.

That is really such a disappointment about the PAH surgeon. Grrr! Clearly not interested in feline medicine or helping clients with cats. We have seen cats do therapy very successfully here. It just takes a therapist who understands that cats have such different rehab therapy needs than dogs, there’s no comparison. But it is NEVER too hard to get a cat into a program and benefitting from it.

My question out there for those out there.. have you used Tramadol for your cat?  

I have not personally. Here are posts that mention Tramadol and Tripawd cats. Sorry, there’s a lot of sifting.

What I know based on current science is that Tramadol is worthless. I don’t say this lightly. One of the founders (literally) of vet pain management medicine says it here, and other vets have confirmed it for us. 

Oh, forgot to mention the Fababloc came in and I put it on his bed… he didn’t like that.

Drats! I’m wondering if it’s the factory odor he doesn’t like. We can’t smell it but I’ll bet animals can. Have you tried putting it in your laundry for a few days so it smells like you? Anytime you can get your scent onto something your pet is more likely to be agreeable to it. 

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