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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After a roller coaster of a week learning my 15 year old cat, Milo, fell off the bed, fractured his left hind leg, xrays revealed it's a tumor, and now amputation I have been experiencing all the emotions myself. I lost his sister, Mish Mish, also 15, only three weeks ago. While amputation was not what I wanted to hear, I'm grateful I have more time with him for now.
I don't even know where to start. We don't know the cancer type yet, but an abdominal ultrasound was done yesterday and no signs the cancer had spread. His leg will be sent for testing after removal. I have purchased the Aramark stairs, a soft collar to keep from licking, a new litter box that he can simply step into, and welcome any other suggestions.
My main concern is pain management , what should I tell me vet I want to keep him comfortable?
I think Milo will adjust well, it took him two days to figure out he can drag his splinted leg around. He is still himself, purring ,eating, drinking, cuddling, and using the bathroom normally.
Thank you in advance for all advice prior to this huge change in our life! But I'm hopeful it'll end up being the best decision we could have made.
Michaela and Milo
Hi Michaela and Milo, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.
I'm so sorry you are here, especially so soon after losing Mish Mish. My heart and condolences go out to you!
But I'm glad you found us. It sounds like you've been busy doing your research and will be well-prepared. Do you have a recovery space set up for him? A small room in your home where he can't get into trouble, a dog crate, anything to keep him from wandering and doing too much too soon.
When it comes to pain control, we have some articles you should check out:
Simbadol™ is a highly concentrated injectable version of buprenorphine, used in cats. One injection lasts 24 hours and must not be dispensed to a pet owner.
Nocita™, is another injectable post-op pain medication veterinarians can give to dogs (and provide off-label use for cats). It lasts approximately three days.
Trazodone and Zonisamide work well to ease anxiety and allow your pet to relax.
Carprophen (Rimadyl), Meloxicam (Metacam), Deracoxib are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Pain Drugs (NSAIDs) that decrease inflammation in the body, allowing it to heal. For dogs who are sensitive to NSAIDs, Galliprant® (grapiprant) is a good option. For cats, short term use of meloxicam or ketoprofen is safe.
Tapentadol is a newer opioid that complements the effects of the previous types of medications. If it sounds like ‘Tramadol,” that’s because it ‘s a new and improved version of the drug. Tapentadol is just starting to be used in veterinary medicine, and a 2014 Tapentadol study showed it can be as effective than morphine, and much more helpful than Tramadol at controlling pain in dogs.
Amitriptyline is another drug for both species that can help reduce phantom limb pain, as well as anxiety.
Amantadine is also shown to be an effective pain reducer.
When is the big day? Be sure to check out Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats if you haven't already, it's also filled with tons of great tips! Stay tuned for feedback from others.
Thank you, Jerry. I'm just glad we have an option to keep him here as I was really not prepared to lose him after losing Mish Mish.
We are scheduled for Tuesday. As of now, his leg is in a splint but he has learned to get around on it and already used his new litterbox no problem! It took him about two days to adjust so I'm hoping that is a good omen on how quickly he will bounce back. I am giving him Buprenorphine to help keep him comfortable while we wait for his surgery.
I am nervous for the night we bring him home and am considering sleeping in the living room next to him in case he needs anything.
22 February 2013
Ypu jave a good Guardian Angel watching over you and Milo now. Mish Mosh will make sure voth of you get through this challenge with flying colors.
It sounds like uou will be bringing Milo home the same day of surgery. It can be quite "unselttling" as they shake off the anesthesia and are usually quite whacked. It"s better to jave Milo home though if you aren't using a fully 24/7 staffed clinic. We'll all be here to help you navigate through recovery though. It doesn't last furever and in a very short time Milo will be healed and joining the ranks of CUTE TRIPAWD ROCKSTARS!
The Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats referenced will help you tremendously! Spearheaded by one of our longtime kitty members (Purrkins/Holly) and lots of additional feedback from kitty members....it is truly an invaluable resource.
You have a strong and determined kitty and that goes a long way in turning him into a Tripawd Warrior! And he has a strong and det Holman to help guide him!
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!
Glad you don't have to wait too long for surgery. If he is already used to the new litterbox and the splint, he should adapt pretty well. What a very adaptable kitty! Most are not as willing to change things up.
It would be fine to sleep in the living room with him. Just make sure that he can't get into trouble. Is there any way you can confine him into a large dog kennel or close off doors so he can't roam or jump?
After some research I wanted to run something by this community. My vet wanted Milo to have a FNA biopsy of his bone to determine what type of cancer it was before we scheduled the amputation. The facility he went to, which is a specialized facility, told me they did not do that type of procedure and instead did an abdominal ultrasound to see if the cancer had spread anywhere. They did not find any evidence of this. I told my vet this and after reading the facilities report he determine we could move forward with the amputation, but now I guess I am second guessing this decision without knowing what type of cancer it is and how aggressive it is? I would hate to put Milo through an amputation if it is a lost cause.... thoughts?
Sure! Well, if the leg is beyond repair, if it will need to come off regardless of the type of cancer, then it makes sense to move forward. But if there is any chance at all that the leg can be saved, I'd want to know exactly what I was dealing with.
Are you sure you're not getting Fine Needle Aspirate confused with a Bone Biopsy? The first is a needle aspirate that is a common procedure done in-office, usually without any anesthesia. The second is surgery that does require it. Usually a bone biopsy is done when the cancer type is unclear and answers are helpful before surgery.
But again, if there is a chance that the leg can be saved, I'd want more information.
Hope that helps!