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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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17 Year Old Cat Rear Limb Amputation/Hemipelvectomy - Possible Injection Site Sarcoma
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The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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30 April 2024 - 1:13 pm
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Aww you sweet kitty! So happy to know that you are back to your fun antics icon_lol

Great move by getting the acupuncture done. Yes, those occasional "tune ups" will be really beneficial over the long haul. How neat that she is pretty tolerant of the treatment. That's a really good sign!

And yeah, the more you can manage her weight the better off she will be so great job, mom!

Member Since:
8 February 2024
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3 July 2024 - 12:14 pm
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Stopping in for an update from sweet Nancy Drew. 

IMG_4637-scaled.jpgImage Enlarger

Nancy had a checkup in May to check in on her kidneys (slightly increased values since her surgery in February, but the vet said they could even be due to machine differences). She continues to have elevated calcium, which sounds like it's due to lower kidney function and not much to do for that. There are several college students working at our regular vet clinic this summer who were excited to treat a tripawd for the first time. This was the first time our regular vet had seen Nancy since surgery (we did follow-ups with the surgeon) and she was 1) impressed at how well she's getting around and 2) thrilled to see how she's no longer in pain. She shared that she was just as torn about the option to proceed with amputation as I was, but was convinced Nancy would no longer be with us by now if we hadn't. 

In June (just a month after her checkup) I noticed two things simultaneously - she had a lump that was getting larger on her amputation side and that she had been straining in the litter box. Over the past few months I've asked about a hard bump on the amputation side (both our regular vet and the holistic vet) and they though it was bone that was now poking through without the extra padding. Since her mobility has changed, they said her body weight was shifting as well. But, the lump seemed to suddenly get noticeably larger so back to the vet we went. The vet agreed that the lump was indeed new/larger and we did x-rays that show smooth, round mass around the bone. The vet wasn't immediately concerned and said it could be a number of things including the cancer recurring. She wanted to share the x-rays with the surgeon to get their thoughts, and we started her on Onsior in the meantime. Her suspicion is that the mass isn't impacting Nancy's bowels, but that she might have some pain keeping her from trying to use the litter box and causing a bit of a backup. She hadn't really been showing any signs of pain -- the lump doesn't seem overly sensitive but the week I noticed everything she had been keeping to a more secluded sleeping place. And her tolerance for her cat brothers was definitely lower 🙄. The Onsior seems to perk her up so she must be having some pain. 

The surgeon says the mass looks like soft tissue and wants to do a fine needle aspiration. My regular vet previously said that it's not the first thing she wanted to try because there's a risk of spreading the cancer more quickly as you pull the needle out (the internet seems divided on this - would love to hear your thoughts!). As a worrier, of course I want to know what we're dealing with, but I'm not sure that information would change our course moving forward. The Onsior seems to help (though there's a risk to her kidneys) and she's continuing with acupuncture.

Obviously I'm hoping its not recurrence, but the oncologists did feel it would be back within 3 months and that seems most likely. We'll be back at the holistic vet Friday so maybe they will have some additional strategies to tackle any pain. I took a video at a recent video in case anyone is interested. She tolerates it pretty well, but was on her very best behavior this day 😉

Overall, she's still getting around great and has a great appetite (she's even gained wait since surgery). Still plays with her laser pointer and likes to hop up in bed with me at night. Her only real struggles are with the litter box. We've tried a few variations but she doesn't always make it all the way in and I suspect when she's straining it's difficult for her to get a good footing. 

Thank you all for all of the advice and support -- I'm glad she can spend this time with me as pain free as possible.

The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 July 2024 - 9:10 pm
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Meg thank you for that update! We've been doing the 4th of July thing and just now back online so I had a chance to look over your post. I'm so sorry about the current situation with the lump! 

I would say based on your observations about her pain signals (hiding out is definitely one of them) and what your vet suspected about her struggle with the litterbox, it would be smart to keep an eye on her comfort level so that if more medication needed adding it merits asking your vet about. Any time there is a visible, measureable tumor it makes sense there's got to some pain associated with it. If I put myself in those paws of an animal with a large tumor I would be crying like a baby. I think most humans would.

As for aspirating that lump, we have been told that at least with a bone cancer like osteosarcoma, we have been told by multiple oncologists that although there are suspicions that it's possible to spread mets with an aspirate there are no hard studies showing that this actually happens. I can't say the same for soft tissue mets though. The best person to ask would be your oncologist. Also, consider that if you do aspirate, what would you do with that information you received ack? If you would treat the tumor somehow, you need the aspirate to choose a treatment path. If you know you wouldn't pursue any treatment, then there is no point of doing it. It's entirely up to you.

I'm glad that Nancy is getting around pretty well mostly, and thriving as an old gal. She has already beaten the odds so don't forget to celebrate what a remarkable Trikitty you have on your hands! smiley_clap

Let us know what you decide. We always look forward to an update about her!

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