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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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About to bring home my recent tripawd
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Connecticut
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
23 July 2019
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24 July 2019 - 6:19 pm
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Good evening!

My 12(ish) year old cat Teddy had a mast cell tumor that was very aggressive on her front left wrist. We tried tumor removal but couldn’t get it all, and had serious swelling and an open wound. Amputation was suggested. We were so upset but after much research and talking with the vet, we decided it was her best chance.

She had the surgery today and we will hopefully be able to take her home in a day or 2. We are very worried and do not know what to expect. We are told cats adapt quickly, but I am afraid she will become depressed or have trouble learning how to navigate without her left front leg. 

Any advice?

Thanks!

Emilee, Taylor, and Teddy 

Emilee and Tripawd Teddy 😻

Instagram: @tripawdteddy

Here and Now


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24 July 2019 - 7:40 pm
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emmiegits14 said
We are very worried and do not know what to expect…

You’ve found the best place for help and support. Don’t miss the growing series of Tripawds News blog posts tagged What To Expect, check out the reading list of tri-kitty tips, or consider downloading Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats to save time spent searching and start here for help finding the many other Tripawds resources.

Welcome and best wishes for Teddy. Please keep us posted, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3582
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24 July 2019 - 8:40 pm
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Hello and welcome.

I’m sorry you are dealing with mast cell cancer- I haven’t heard of many (or any?) cats diagnosed with this type of cancer.  My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to a MCT and had recurring cutaneous MCTs after.  Mag’s little sis Tani also had MCTs, lots of them but all on her torso.  If it is any help you can read about Mag’s amp and treatment, the links are in my signature below.

Our kitty members can help you better than I can, but I can say that all the cats I’ve seen here do really well.

Let us know when you get her home.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 July 2019 - 8:47 pm
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Hi Emilee, Taylor, and Teddy, welcome!

Yay for a successful surgery! smiley_clap Teddy is a rock star, she will surprise you in so many ways. Try to keep in mind that it is not she who will be depressed or sad, it’s always harder on the human than the new Tripawd. Animals are soooo resilient, they adapt, and they go on to live just as they did before, only with one less leg. Teddy is going to truly inspire you!

Right now one of the best things you can do is to prepare her environment. Make sure she has a safe, small space to recover, a spot where she cannot jump off high perches or get caught underneath furniture. Also make sure her litter box has low sides, so she can get in and out easily. Our e-books have great tips and also see our Tripawds Recovery Shopping List for more ideas. 

Allow her lots of time to heal, and remember that she is on her own timeline, she will get there! 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Connecticut
Forum Posts: 5
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23 July 2019
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25 July 2019 - 7:33 pm
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Just brought her home! She is very drugged and keeps falling over.. the vet suggest we keep her in a dog crate while she heals, but she seems to want to sleep on the couch right now. We are worried that she will fall in the water and her bandage will get wet. It is very hard to see her like this. I hope it gets easier.

Emilee and Tripawd Teddy 😻

Instagram: @tripawdteddy



Forum Posts: 1236
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25 July 2019 - 9:39 pm
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Oh good, she’d home! The advantage of a crate is that you know where she is when you are getting some sleep.

My cat Mona slept in an open closet under a shelf and would come to sleep with me in a bed I made up in the room. I kept the door closed because she would race around the house and then collapse. Tell Teddy to take it slow.

Read the resources suggested by Jerry for lots of great tips. 

The first few days can be challenging but it will get easier. My Mona had her amputation five years ago and she now rules the house and is very confident.

Take good care of yourself while Teddy heals.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 July 2019 - 9:42 pm
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Welcome home Teddy! We are so happy that you made it through surgery. Now you’re on the mend!

Yes, it does get better. The drugs are a good thing, they will help her rest and keep her from doing too much. We do recommend a small confined space for recovery so she doesn’t hurt herself. It’s not easy to ask that of her but it’s for the best. Our e-book,Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats, has lots of ideas about how to make a comfy recovery area.  

Hang in there, things will get better. Focus on your strong, sweet kitty and know that she has it in her to be happy on three. She will get there!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Connecticut
Forum Posts: 5
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26 July 2019 - 8:07 am
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Thank you all so much for the kind words and encouragement. I have made my peace with the fact that amputation was the best choice for getting rid of her cancer and (hopefully) getting clean margins. What is very difficult now is medicating her and seeing how shes acting on the strong pain meds. She keeps trying to get up and walk, but falls over from the pain meds. It is very hard to see her struggling. I can’t wait for her to back to normal… How long does it usually take?

Emilee and Tripawd Teddy 😻

Instagram: @tripawdteddy

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 July 2019 - 12:44 pm
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Everyone’s normal is different, it really depends on the breed type, age, etc. She will find her new normal in time. My guess is two weeks is often the turnaround point. Stay pawsitive and know that it’s not necessarily her inability to be mobile that’s making her wobbly, it’s probably the pain medications. Again though, let your vet know your concerns to make sure there’s nothing else going on.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 2477
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26 July 2019 - 3:40 pm
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Hi and welcome!

Some of what you are seeing could be still some effects from the anesthesia. It takes several days for the anesthesia to totally leave their system. In the meantime one of the best things you can do is to make sure you are giving her the pain meds religiously at regular intervals. Please trust me when I say that to see them in a drunken, pain free bit of a stupor is so much better than seeing them in pain! And once pain breaks through it can be hard if not impossible to regain control over. In the next several days you should start to see a bit of a brighter kitty, it is going to take some time. 

I bought some of the hanging feeders for Huck’s crate for his water (the kind you just hang on the wire of the crate), and I placed pee pads on the bottom of the crate in case there were any accidents or spillage. It also made it easier for cleanup with litter and bedding. Huck was in Mitchell’s XL dog crate for the first couple of weeks with limited overseen access to the rest of the room as he started to feel better. I made a music playlist for him, and had kitty tv on constantly when I could not be right there with him. I left a small light on for him at night, but my husband and I took shifts in his room with him so he was rarely alone. 

Appetite might nose dive here and there between the procedure, anesthesia, and pain meds but that will all come back. I invested in Squeeze ups, all different kinds of stinky cat food and treats, Fancy Feast broths, Whiskas kitty milk, tuna and tuna juice.. whatever I could to keep him going. I did manage to mix some of his meds in tuna juice, other times as I got braver I used a pill gun and greased the pills up with some butter so they would not get stuck in his mouth or throat.

Hang in there, it’s going to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride but you will see a light at the end of the tunnel sp_hearticon2

You have some wonderful people here to support you and help try to answer any questions you may have. We have all been there!

Hugs,

Jackie and Huckleberry sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

Virginia




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26 July 2019 - 9:36 pm
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Just want to add my hello to you and Teddy.  Other than that, Injave nothing  to add because nyounjave already gotten incredible  insight from two,of our kitty experts, Jackie (Huckleberry) and Kerren (Mona).

It is defimearlymin recovery  and the pain meds are making Teddy loopy.  With your Vet’s guidance, you can maybe  lower the dose a bit, and spread out the amount of timeminvetween IF…IF…you feel like iin another few days he’s over meditated.   As Jackie said though, you DEFINITELY  want his pain managed, even if it means he has trouble getting his sea legs.  Every cat/dog reacts differently to meds.

Keep us posted.   I know it’s  hard  to see right now, but Teddy seems to be having a “normal” recovery  so early on.

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!

Connecticut
Forum Posts: 5
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23 July 2019
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29 July 2019 - 6:00 pm
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Thank you everyone! Today is day 5 post op, they took off her bandage and she gets her stitches removed next week. She is eating alright and seems to be hopping around a little.

She seems very depressed, but I cant tell if it’s because she hates the cone (which went on today), shes in pain, or she is sad because of the loss of her limb. Is this normal for her to look depressed? 

Emilee and Tripawd Teddy 😻

Instagram: @tripawdteddy

Forum Posts: 2477
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29 July 2019 - 7:02 pm
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It’s really normal considering the meds,  the cone,  and get trying to get used to her new normal.  The only other thing I would be concerned about is pain.  Cats are masters at hiding pain but that could be another reason for her to be withdrawn.  Is she getting her pain meds at regular intervals? What is she taking now and how often? Don’t want to worry you but it’s definitely a consideration. 

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

Connecticut
Forum Posts: 5
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23 July 2019
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29 July 2019 - 7:37 pm
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She had her fentanyl patch removed this morning and is now taking gabapentin (spelling?) as needed every 8-12 hours. She is eating normal and I finally got some purring out of her. I think shes trying to find something to hide under, so I built her a fort hoping that will help

Emilee and Tripawd Teddy 😻

Instagram: @tripawdteddy

Virginia




Forum Posts: 17774
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29 July 2019 - 7:38 pm
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Ditto Jackie.  All of those factors, PLUS very early in recovery  from MAJOR surgery, can make Teddy not feel like throwing  a pawty yet!

“Depression” is more of a human term and not really one dogs own.  Sje’s not  sad over the loss of her leg, she’s just trying to sort through her new normal while on pain meds, with a cone on her head that she hates, and just five days out from surgery.

It gets better!!!!

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!

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